Friday, 09 August 2019: Corbyn accuses Johnson of abuse of power to force no-deal Brexit, Britain reverses exit from Interrail, “Open Arms” and “Ocean Viking” stuck in the Mediterranean, Italian deputy prime minister Salvini pushes for new election


Corbyn accuses Johnson of abuse of power to force no-deal Brexit: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to rule on whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson could force through a no-deal Brexit in a general election period. There have been reports that Johnson could call an election that would be held after the 31 October Brexit deadline. Corbyn accused the prime minister of plotting an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power. He asked Sedwill to confirm that if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal during an election campaign, then the government must seek an extension to article 50 and allow an incoming administration to take a decision about Brexit on the basis of the result. Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced a one-year spending review to give government departments financial certainty as they prepare for Brexit. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has pressed the EU to amend the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement., (Corbyn); (Javid); (Raab)

Johnson calls for common sense compromise: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the EU to show common sense and agree to make changes to the Brexit withdrawal deal. He said there was a lot of time for the EU to compromise on the Irish border backstop plan before the Brexit deadline of 31 October. He also warned MPs not to oppose Brexit, and to respect the 2016 referendum result. Asked about the possibility of holding an election before Britain has left the EU, Johnson said voters wanted to see politicians deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum. He said the government was working hard to reach a deal with the EU and if Britain could get changes to the so-called backstop, an insurance policy aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, then there would be a good deal.,

Pro-Brexit war veteran jailed for Heidi Allen posts: A pro-Brexit former Royal Marine has been jailed for 24 weeks for threatening the remainer MP Heidi Allen online, including posting aerial images of her home on social media. A judge described the man’s campaign against Allen as a profound attack on democracy which put her at significant risk. In a statement read in court, Allen said she had felt scared to go out in her home village, and had given up jogging as a result of the messages.,

Visas for highly skilled migrants: PM Johnson wants to attract scientists with fast-track visas
Labour: Membership falls slightly but remains above 500,000


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Britain reverses exit from Interrail: British railway operators have struck a deal to stay inside the Interrail pan-European ticketing scheme, just a day after announcing they would leave following a dispute with the company that runs the system. The split between the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents British operators, and the Dutch-based Eurail Group came after UK companies stopped taking part in a trial programme for the Eurail ticket. British companies wanted to secure a competitive position for their BritRail Pass, which offers travellers tickets for the UK network. But British Transport Minister Grant Shapps called the move counterproductive and urged the RDG to to reverse its decision, which it did.

“Open Arms” and “Ocean Viking” stuck in the Mediterranean: The “Open Arms” rescue ship with 121 migrants on board has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week. Amnesty International has shown serious concern for the wellbeing of the people aboard the ship. EU Parliament speaker David Sassoli has written to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking for help. Sassoli called for immediate action, adding that if Europe could not protect the migrants it would mean that it had lost its soul, as well as its heart. “Open Arms” warned that people should not be abandoned at sea. Malta has refused a request by the “Ocean Viking” rescue ship to refuel in its harbours.,,

New EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Council of the EU has appointed Johann Sattler as EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will also take over the role of the Head of the EU’s Delegation in Sarajevo. EU Special Representatives promote the EU’s policies and interests in certain regions and countries. They play an active role in efforts to consolidate reforms, stability, and the rule of law.

Climate: Damage to land hurts climate battle, says UN report
EU Commission: Sweden nominates Employment Minister Johansson as EU Commissioner
Expansion: EU expansion plans stall for the Balkans


Iran is in serious financial trouble. They want desperately to talk to the US, but are given mixed signals from all of those purporting to represent us, including President Macron of France.
US President Donald Trump has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of sending mixed signals to Iran.


Italian deputy prime minister Salvini pushes for new election: Italy faced a government crisis Thursday after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party called for a new election, saying his party’s coalition with the Five Star Movement had collapsed over policy differences. Premier Giuseppe Conte said he would convene parliament, as requested by Salvini to seek a confidence vote, but showed his anger over what he called Salvini’s move to abruptly interrupt the actions of the government. He urged Salvini to explain himself to voters. The two governing parties have been at odds over an EU-funded high-speed rail link with neighbouring France.

Polish parliament speaker Kuchcinski to resign over flight scandal: Speaker Marek Kuchcinski announced Thursday that he is resigning after a scandal erupted over his and his family’s frequent use of government planes. Kuchcinski had used government planes and military helicopters and aircraft dozens of times over the past few years, mostly for flights from the capital Warsaw to his home city. Kuchcinski apologised earlier this week although he insisted no laws had been broken.,

German defence ministry admits huge spending on consultants: The German defence ministry and its affiliated institutions spent €155 million on external consultants and support services between January and June 2019, more than the 13 other German ministries combined. The main explanation for the high expenditure is the challenge posed by digitalisation. But opposition politician Matthias Höhn described the expenditure total as disgraceful. Under its former head Ursula von der Leyen — now designated president of the EU Commission — the German defence ministry has long faced scrutiny over equipment deficiencies and why it resorts to consultancy despite having a staff of over 20,000.

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Germany increasingly popular as holiday destination: Foreigners spent 39.8 million nights in German hotels in the first half of 2019, which was a rise of 3% on the previous year. Domestic travel in Germany also increased by 4%, which brought an overall increase of 3.8%. The president of Germany’s tourism industry federation BTW, Michael Frenzel, said the fact that Germans were travelling more ran contrary to the increasing skepticism over travel due to climate change.

Greece 1: New law lifts obstacle to police entering universities
Greece 2: Central bank seeks full lifting of capital controls
Denmark: Nord Stream 2 pipeline route request could cause eight-month delay

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Swine flu spreads in eastern Europe: Several outbreaks of African Swine Flu have occurred in Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, originating in Bulgaria. The country’s deputy agriculture minister Dessislava Taneva admitted that Bulgaria failed to contain the disease. Experts say it might lose its entire 600,000-strong pig-breeding industry. Bulgaria will receive €2.9m EU financial aid to combat the disease.


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