Friday, 02 November 2018: Arron Banks faces Brexit referendum spending probe, Passengers to face AI tests at EU airports, Germany will back extension of sanctions against Russia

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Arron Banks faces Brexit referendum spending probe: Britain’s National Crime Agency is investigating Arron Banks and his Leave.EU campaign for alleged offences committed at the 2016 EU referendum. Banks and another senior campaign figure, Liz Bilney, were referred to the agency by the Electoral Commission. The watchdog said it suspected Banks was not the true source of loans to the campaign and the money had come from impermissible sources. Downing Street has quashed speculation that a Brexit agreement has been reached on financial services, after an overnight report that a tentative deal had been struck caused the pound to soar briefly. The Bank of England has indicated there could be a faster pace of interest rate increases if the UK manages a smooth exit from the EU. Announcing its decision to hold interest rates, the bank said Brexit uncertainty was preventing some firms from investing but this was offset by households who were still spending enough to lift GDP.
bbc.com (Arron Banks), theguardian.com (Financial services), bbc.com, politico.eu (Bank of England)

Passengers to face AI tests at EU airports: Passengers at some European airports will soon be questioned by artificial intelligence-powered lie detectors at border checkpoints, as an EU trial of the technology is set to begin. Fliers will be asked a series of travel-related questions by a virtual border guard avatar, and artificial intelligence will monitor their faces to assess whether they are lying. Only passengers who give their consent will come face-to-face with the technology in its initial trial, with consent forms available at the airports when they arrive. The system will be overseen by human guards, who can see the results of the AI tests on each passenger.
cnn.com

New US push for Yemen peace: Yemen’s internationally recognised government on Thursday welcomed new US-led peace efforts. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis this week both urged a Saudi-led, US-backed coalition and its Yemeni enemies—the Iran-backed Houthi rebels—to agree on a cease-fire, part of a Trump administration effort to end the conflict. Germany has backed the US call for a cessation of hostilities in the Yemen war. The renewed diplomatic drive reflects a convergence of political pressures: international outrage over the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a Yemeni humanitarian crisis fueled by the dual threats of war and hunger in the Arab world’s poorest country.
wsj.com, time.com

Google employees stage walkout: Employees in Google offices around the world staged a walkout on Thursday to protest the company’s handling of senior executives accused of sexual misconduct. The walkout was organised in response to a report by „The New York Times“ last week that found two senior Google executives had been paid tens of millions of dollars in exit packages despite being accused of sexual misconduct. A third senior executive named in the article had been allowed to stay at the company but resigned on Tuesday. Rich DeVaul, another top Alphabet exec identified in the Times report as having made unwanted sexual overtures to a woman applying for a job at the company, resigned earlier this week.
nbcnews.com, variety.com

Maastricht Treaty 25 years on: The birth of the EU … and euroscepticism euronews.com
Syria: Key US allies temporarily halt campaign against Isis following clashes with Turkey cnn.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

In a Europe divided by fears, nationalist assertions and the consequences of the economic crisis, we see in an almost methodical manner the rearticulation of everything that dominated life in Europe from post-World War I to the 1929 crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against a surge in populism in Europe.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany will back extension of sanctions against Russia: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Germany would push for an extension of Western sanctions against Russia in December because Moscow had failed to fully implement a Ukraine peace deal brokered in Minsk in 2015. Previously, the Russian government froze funds and put barriers around property belonging to 322 Ukrainian nationals and 68 businesses on Russian soil. Moscow targeted the property of Ukraine’s defence and interior ministers, the heads of Ukraine’s military command and the state’s security council, its envoy to the United States, the parliamentary speaker, judges on the country’s Constitutional Court, and various other top officials. Germany and France said on Thursday that it appears that Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine had shot down a drone being used by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.
reuters.com (Merkel), dw.com (Russia), dw.com (OSCE)

Italian president calls for dialogue with the EU: Italian President Sergio Mattarella has intervened in the budget dispute between the government in Rome and the EU Commission. In a letter to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Mattarella wrote that it was his duty to urge the government to enter into a constructive dialogue with the European institutions. Conte said Thursday that he was confident about reaching a deal with the EU Commission. However, he also stressed the need to spend more money to tackle social and economic emergencies in Italy.
n-tv.de, politico.eu

German consumer group files class action suit against VW: A German consumer organisation has filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen on behalf of drivers over emissions cheating. The suit takes advantage of a new law that came into force Thursday and allows such joint cases, akin to US-style class action lawsuits. Volkswagen has been forced to pay out around 25 billion dollars in compensation and settlements in the US, but insists it is not liable to do the same in Europe over the installation of so-called defeat device software in diesel vehicles.
politico.eu

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Polish PM Morawiecki criticises German-owned media: Polish media has been sold out to Germany, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has lamented, adding that the foreign-owned outlets have considerable influence over Warsaw’s internal affairs. He noted that a number of influential Polish media were bought by Germans under the previous government. A number of Polish media outlets are foreign-owned. One example is the German-Swiss media group Ringier Axel Springer Media. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and members of her cabinet will arrive in Warsaw this Thursday for Polish-German talks on bilateral relations.
faz.net, welt.de

France: Hackers steal nuclear plant blueprints n-tv.de
Greece: Number of refugees on the Aegean Islands continues to increase spiegel.de
Italy: Prosecutors to drop migrants case against Salvini taz.de

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Halloween night riots in France: French police arrested more than 100 people after gangs of masked youths stormed through Paris suburbs and the centre of Lyon on Halloween night, authorities said on Thursday, following a message on social media calling for a „purge“ against police. Police fired teargas overnight at hundreds of youths who barged through the city centre of Lyon, hassling police and passersby, shattering shop windows and setting rubbish bins on fire. In the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris, a sportswear store was looted and young people robbing a grocery store attacked police with acid.
reuters.com

 

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