Friday, 23 August 2019: UK and South Korea sign trade agreement, Merkel explains statements on Brexit deadline, Italian president gives parties until Tuesday to solve political crisis, Rescue ship captain turns down Paris award


UK and South Korea sign trade agreement: Britain signed a trade agreement with South Korea on Thursday, clinching its third-largest deal that will allow continued free trade after Brexit. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed the agreement with her South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee in London. The government said the deal will protect annual trade flows between the two countries, which were worth £14.6bn last year. That amounts to around 1% of Britain’s total trade, and 2% of that with the EU. Yoo said the agreement would remove much Brexit uncertainty from the economic partnership between the two countries.,

Tory rebels sceptical over Corbyn’s plans for stopping no-deal Brexit: Rebel Conservatives and independent MPs expressed scepticism after an invite from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to discuss ways to stop a no-deal Brexit. Former Conservative MP Nick Boles demanded Corbyn rule out backing a general election that could lead to the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October. The former Tory MP Anna Soubry said she would attend the meeting scheduled for next week with other party leaders but also underlined that she would tell Corbyn that MPs must pursue legislative routes to stop no deal, rather than an immediate confidence vote. Migration experts have warned that the UK cannot end freedom of movement from the EU on Brexit day because it has no system to work out who is legally in the country. (Corbyn); (Freedom of movement)

Leaked emails show Ukip leader Braine comparing Muslims to Nazis: Ukip leader Richard Braine has been accused of encouraging anti-Muslim prejudice after leaked emails showed he argued that people should no more want Muslims to settle in their country than Nazis. The emails to associates were leaked to the “Guardian” from within Ukip. Braine, who won the leadership after a campaign in which he expressed anti-Islam views, also argued there was no such thing as moderate Muslims.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to meet UK foreign secretary
ONS: Immigration to Britain falls to five-year low ahead of Brexit


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Merkel explains statements on Brexit deadline: German Chancellor Angela Merkel explained Thursday that when she said a no-deal Brexit could be averted within thirty days, she was not citing a specific deadline. She clarified that the thirty days were meant as an example to highlight the fact that results needed to be achieved in a short time because Britain had said they wanted to leave the EU on 31 October. French President Emmanuel Macron told Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a meeting that there was not enough time to wholly rewrite the Brexit deal before a 31 October deadline. Macron said the backstop was both an indispensable guarantee for the stability of Ireland and a means of protecting the integrity of the European single market, and that any new UK ideas had to respect that. He urged Johnson to set out his proposed alternatives as soon as possible., (Merkel);, (Macron)

Iran unveils long-range missile system: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveiled the long-range surface-to-air missile system Bavar-373 on Thursday. State television showed Rouhani attending an unveiling ceremony for the mobile missile-defence system. The Iranian oil tanker “Adrian Darya-1“ is not heading towards Greece as it sails through the Mediterranean Sea, Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis has said. There was no request for the ship to dock in a Greek port. The United States wants to detain the tanker on the grounds it has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The owner of the British-flagged tanker “Stena Impero”, which has been detained in Iran, has met Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to make the case for the ship and its crew to be released. In the face of escalating tensions in Syria, the heads of state of Turkey, Russia and Iran are planning to hold a summit in Turkey. (Missile system); (Adrian Darya-1); (Stena Impero); (Syria)

Counter-G7 summit: While leaders from the Group of Seven nations (G7) gear up for the summit in Biarritz this weekend, a group of people who oppose the international summit are conducting their own summit. The group seeks to present an alternative way of thinking to those of the G7 leaders. The organisers behind the counter-summit said the gathering was a way of denouncing the politics of the G7, which they accused of being at the service of the rich. The anti-globalisation and climate activists are also joined by French “Yellow Vest” protesters. The “Yellow Vests” have called for their 41st Saturday demonstration to be held in Biarritz. France will deploy 13,200 police to secure the G7 summit.,,

ThyssenKrupp sues EU for blocking merger: German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp has announced that it filed a complaint with the General Court of the European Union against the EU Commission for blocking its plan to merge with Indian group Tata Steel. The Commission had vetoed the deal in June, saying the proposed merger would have reduced competition and increased prices for different types of steel. Thyssenkrupp said it did not share these concerns and that the Commission had for the first time set out a restrictive market definition that unduly extended the scope of the existing competition law.,

Medical products: US ambassador in Berlin Grenell says new EU regulation is testing cooperation
EU research programme “Horizon Europe”: EU turns into a venture capitalist
Study: Half of UK digital exports go to the EU
Weapons sales: France continues to flourish on EU arms sales market


Italian president gives parties until Tuesday to solve political crisis: Italian President Sergio Mattarella will give political groups five more days to try to find a way out of the current political crisis following a government collapse, he announced Thursday night. Mattarella wants a swift government deal, otherwise Italy faces new elections. Mattarella had spent the day consulting with the leaders of political parties to try to find a way out of the current crisis, first triggered two weeks ago when League leader Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on the coalition government with the Five Star Movement.,

Rescue ship captain turns down Paris award: German captain Pia Klemp, who faces prison time in Italy after rescuing hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, has refused a medal awarded by the city of Paris for bravery. In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Klemp accused Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo of hypocrisy, citing poor conditions faced by migrants in Paris. Klemp is currently awaiting trial and faces up to twenty years in prison. She is accused of assisting illegal immigration. Portugal’s government said late on Thursday it was ready to take up to 35 migrants from the Norwegian-flagged rescue ship “Ocean Viking”., (Award); (Ocean Viking)

Poland criticises Germany’s defence spending: Germany should pull its weight when it comes to defence spending, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview published Thursday. Germany was not a freeloader, he said, but the country’s contributions were not in line with commitments. He called on Germany to increase its defence spending faster. Morawiecki also called for more US troops to be posted in Poland, but said that wouldn’t necessarily mean shifting military presence from Germany.

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Spain issues health warning over listeria outbreak: The Spanish health ministry has issued an international health warning over a listeria outbreak that has infected 175 people. The bacteria was detected in a processed meat product manufactured in the city of Seville, in the southern region of Andalucia. The outbreak comes during peak tourist season in Spain, with Andalucia a popular destination among visitors.

Climate change: What Germany can learn from the Netherlands
Slovenia: Border fence to curb migrant inflow
Bulgaria: Stricter security measures at airports after bomb threats
Poland 1: Supreme Court chief sent vulgar messages for opposing judicial reforms
Poland 2: Macron expected to visit Poland at the start of 2020
Germany: Volkswagen wants name hidden for far-right AfD meeting
Kosovo: Lawmakers vote to dissolve parliament

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Youth wing of Flemish party offers to sell Wallonia to Trump for €1: The youth wing of Belgium’s right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) offered to sell the country’s French-speaking region of Wallonia to US President Donald Trump for one euro. The tweet by the youth branch of the N-VA, which wants a separate Flemish state, resulted in criticism from some Belgian Walloons, but the head of the group, Lawrence Vancraeyenest, quickly pointed out that it was just a joke.


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