Friday, 17 September 2021: Reshuffle of UK cabinet continues, France is furious as Australia scraps submarine deal, Germany averted possible attack on synagogue

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Reshuffle of UK cabinet continues: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is putting the finishing touches to his reshuffle after making significant changes to his top team. On Wednesday, the PM fired both Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, before replacing Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab with Liz Truss. On Thursday, he confirmed that the media minister, John Whittingdale, and the veteran schools minister, Nick Gibb, first appointed to the education department by David Cameron, have both been removed. Whittingdale tweeted that he was sorry to be stepping down, and sad to say goodbye to officials. Meanwhile, Johnson’s new international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been accused of climate emergency denial after a series of tweets came to light in which she insisted the world was not getting hotter and dismissed global warming campaigners as fanatics.
bbc.com, theguardian.com, independent.co.uk

Ministers plan post-Brexit return of imperial pounds and ounces in review of EU laws: Shops are to be allowed to sell products in pounds and ounces again after the government pledged to review a ban on marking and selling products in imperial units as part of post-Brexit changes to EU laws.
independent.co.uk

Military to be called in to help Scottish ambulance crews: The military could be called in to help Scotland’s ambulance service which is facing acute pressure, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Sturgeon said health services were dealing with the most challenging combination of circumstances in their history due to the Covid pandemic. She apologised for long waiting times and confirmed that targeted military assistance to help deal with short-term pressure points is under consideration.
news.sky.com, bbc.com

Supply chain problems: Marks & Spencer blames Brexit as it closes stores in France cnn.com
OECD education report: Online classes would not justify high university fees bbc.com
COVID-19: Major changes to travel rules could be announced tomorrow news.sky.com
Breach of security rules: Transparency campaigners demand to see health minister’s texts over Covid contracts independent.co.uk
Michael Gove faces calls to return £100k in donations from property developer theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

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⊂ EUROPE ⊃

France is furious as Australia scraps submarine deal: France has expressed anger over Australia’s surprise decision to scrap a huge submarine deal in favour of nuclear-powered subs from the US, describing it as a “stab in the back” from Canberra and a strain on its friendly relationship with Washington. “This unilateral, sudden and unforeseeable decision very much recalls what Mr Trump would do,” said French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday, referring to the previous US president who exasperated Europe with unpredictable decision-making. US President Joe Biden, in an attempt to placate Paris, said France was a “key partner and ally” in the Asia-Pacific region. The move by the US, UK and Australia underscores increasing concerns about China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, where France is also looking to protect its interests, which include the overseas territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. The EU, meanwhile, announced its own strategy to boost political and defence ties in the Indo-Pacific on Thursday.
theguardian.com, dw.com

EU Parliament wants visa programme for Afghan women: The European Parliament has called on the EU and its member states to work together to facilitate the evacuation of EU citizens and Afghans at risk, in particular through the use of safe corridors. MEPs said there should be a special visa programme for Afghan women seeking protection from the Taliban regime. Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned Thursday after the lower house of parliament passed a motion of censure against the government over its handling of evacuations from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover. Human rights groups have called on the EU to increase its support for refugees trying to flee Afghanistan. According to new figures from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), asylum applications by Afghans numbered 7,300 in July – a 21% increase over June and the fifth consecutive monthly rise. French President Emmanuel Macron met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris Thursday to discuss international crises and European issues, including the diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
europarl.europa.eu (Parliament), apnews.com (Kaag), euronews.com (Refugees), pbs.org (Merkel & Macron)

British government to change legislation automatically transferred to UK after Brexit: Rules on genetically modified farming, medical devices and vehicle standards will be top of a bonfire of laws inherited from the EU as the government seeks to change legislation automatically transferred to the UK after Brexit. Thousands of laws and regulations are to be reviewed, modified or repealed under a new programme aimed at cementing the UK’s independence and “Brexit opportunities”, David Frost has announced.
theguardian.com

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EU launches health crisis body: The EU Commission is launching the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies. The new authority will assess potential health threats, promote research, ensure the availability of critical production and help build stockpiles. When an emergency hits, HERA will ensure the development, production and distribution of medicines, vaccines and other medical countermeasures – such as gloves and masks – that were often lacking during the first phase of the coronavirus response.
ec.europa.eu, reuters.com

New EU rules for immigration of skilled workers: The EU Parliament has adopted new rules for the immigration of foreign professionals. MEPs voted by a large majority to reform the Blue Card Directive, which regulates the conditions under which skilled workers may enter and work in the EU. The aim is to attract highly qualified staff to work in the 27 EU member states. The reform provides for easier entry rules for highly qualified immigrants. In the future, a six-month work contract in an EU country will suffice to apply, instead of a twelve-month contract. In addition, family members will be allowed to come to the EU more quickly.
faz.net

EU Parliament against stricter antibiotic rules: The European Parliament has given its green light to a controversial new antimicrobials regulation, dismissing a motion calling for tighter restrictions on antibiotics use in animals and allowing the EU Commission to move forward on its plans to tackle anti-microbial resistance.
euractiv.com

Gig economy: European Parliament strongly backs legal rights for digital platform workers euronews.com
Corruption: EU Commission acknowledges its Bulgaria failures euractiv.com
Animal testing: MEPs demand EU action plan to end the use of animals in research and testing europarl.europa.eu
Poland convicted of discrimination against lesbian mother spiegel.de

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

No journalist should die or be harmed because of their job.
EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova has called on EU member states to better protect journalists.
washingtonpost.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany averted possible attack on synagogue: German officials on Thursday said a possible Islamist terror attack on a synagogue in the western city of Hagen was averted after authorities were tipped off. Police arrested four people Thursday, including a teenager, over the threat of an attack on the synagogue in Hagen on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. News magazine Der Spiegel reported that the tip came from a foreign intelligence service. It said the teenager told someone in an online chat that he was planning an attack with explosives on a synagogue, and the probe led investigators to the 16-year-old, who lived with his father in Hagen. On Thursday evening, police said that three of those arrested had been released. The 16-year-old main suspect remains in custody. The Düsseldorf prosecutor’s office said that no bomb components had yet been discovered by investigators. Mobile phones and hard drives had been seized and are being evaluated, a spokesperson said.
cnn.com, dw.com, france24.com

French forces kill Isis leader in Greater Sahara: French forces have killed Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS), in a drone strike, the French government announced on Thursday. Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, told reporters that al-Sahrawi died from injuries incurred following an airstrike carried out in late August. He was responsible for attacks targeting civilians and security forces in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, according to a statement from a French presidential spokesperson. In August 2020, al Sahraoui personally ordered the killing of six French humanitarian workers and their driver and guide, the statement added. At least 41 French soldiers have died in the Sahel region of northern Africa in 2013. After over eight years of military engagement in the region, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in June that France would withdraw its Barkhane force and would focus instead on the support-oriented Takuba task force.
cnn.com, politico.eu

Berlin and Paris concerned over Russian mercenaries in Mali: The Russian mercenary group „Wagner“ is notorious; among other things, it has been accused of war crimes in Syria. Now it’s allegedly set be deployed in Mali. Germany and France are threatening to withdraw their troops.
dw.com

France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers: France has suspended 3,000 health workers without pay for refusing the Covid vaccine. Health Minister Olivier Véran said the staff had been notified in writing before the government-imposed deadline to have at least one dose. The Italian government approved on Thursday some of the strictest anti-Covid measures in the world, making it obligatory for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection. Sweden will offer vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 years later this autumn, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday.
theguardian.com (France), reuters.com (Italy), reuters.com (Sweden)

Macron inaugurates Christo’s „Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped“: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday inaugurated a posthumous installation conceived by the late artist Christo that envelops Paris’s Arc de Triomphe monument in 2,500 square metres of silvery blue, recyclable plastic wrapping. „This is the achievement of a 60-year-old dream, a crazy dream come true,“ said Macron.
france24.com

Bulgaria reappoints caretaker PM ahead of third election of 2021 reuters.com
Environmental Action Germany continues legal action against Nord Stream 2 zeit.de
Madrid and Barcelona once again talk about independence derstandard.at
Budapest Forum: Opposition-led Hungarian capital holds democracy conference in sign of defiance euractiv.com
Lagoon city too expensive: Locals are leaving Venice de.euronews.com
Spain: Officials fear volcanic eruption on La Palma dw.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Facebook cracks down on German anti-Covid restrictions group over social harm: Facebook has removed a network of accounts linked to an anti-Covid restrictions movement in Germany as it announced a new crackdown on coordinated campaigns of real users that cause harm on and off its platforms.
reuters.com

 

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