Friday, 27 August 2021: UK to overhaul privacy rules in post-Brexit departure from GDPR, ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul airport attacks, Merkel scores higher approval ratings than any other world leader

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

UK to overhaul privacy rules in post-Brexit departure from GDPR: Britain will attempt to move away from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation as it overhauls its privacy rules after Brexit, the government has announced. The government plans to relax its privacy rules and strike new data transfer agreements with the US and other countries. The nature of those changes will be crucial for determining whether the UK can maintain a separate data agreement completed in June with the EU that requires British privacy standards remain equivalent to the union’s rules. UK officials will have the tricky task of balancing the legal changes with the requirements for remaining within EU guidelines.
theguardian.com, wsj.com

Sensible solutions possible on N.Ireland Brexit issues, says Irish PM: The UK and the EU can still find sensible solutions to issues over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements with the right political will, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. The EU had “demonstrated commitment, patience and creativity in its work to implement the withdrawal agreement and the protocol,” he added. Macron told Martin that France would not let Ireland down when it came to its Brexit difficulties and that the EU would remain united on the “existential issue” after London’s request to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol.
independent.co.uk, reuters.com

Scottish court drops extradition case of Catalan independence campaigner: A Scottish court has dropped extradition proceedings against Catalan pro-independence activist and MEP Clara Ponsatí. She is one of three MEPs wanted in Spain on „sedition“ charges related to the failed 2017 Catalonia independence bid. A sheriff in Edinburgh halted the extradition request from the Spanish government against Ponsatí, who had been elected to the European parliament in January 2020, after agreeing the court no longer had any jurisdiction in her case.
euronews.com, theguardian.com

Boris Johnson’s flat: Conservative accounts reveal party donor Lord Brownlow paid more than £52,000 towards PM’s flat refurbishment news.sky.com
Brexit isn’t helping: UK worker shortages could cancel Christmas cnn.com
COVID-19: Canada and Denmark among latest additions to UK’s green travel list politico.eu
Tory MPs: Make universal credit top-up permanent bbc.com
London Stock Exchange: Lib Dems propose ban on new listings of fossil fuel companies on LSE theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

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⊂ EUROPE ⊃

ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul airport attacks: Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans that were fleeing the Taliban takeover and flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one explosion was near an airport entrance and another was a short distance away by a hotel. The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 12 US troops, Afghan and US officials said. Militants from the „Islamic State“ (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the attacks were particularly vile because the terrorists had targeted people who had hoped to leave the country, looking for peace and security. Merkel called off a planned weekend visit to Israel because of the situation in Afghanistan. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attacks. He added that NATO’s priority was to bring as many people as possible to safety as quickly as possible.
apnews.com, theguardian.com, tagesspiegel.de, apnews.com, tagesschau.de

All German soldiers have left Kabul: The last German military aircraft has left Afghan airspace, ending the country’s mission there, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced. She added that “the attacks we saw this afternoon … have made clear that an extension of the operation in Kabul was not possible. The security situation on the ground, and also the Taliban’s decision not to tolerate an extension beyond 31 August, made it impossible.” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed that there are still German citizens and local forces in Afghanistan. Diplomatic means are now being used to get them out of the country. He said talks are being held with the Taliban and neighbouring states. The UK and France plan to continue their evacuation flights despite the attacks. EU interior ministers will discuss the situation in Afghanistan at a special meeting next Tuesday. An EU Commission spokesman said there should be safe routes to Europe for Afghans who are particularly at risk.
npr.org, pbs.org, br.de, politico.eu, spiegel.de

Afghanistan’s women are in danger: Representatives of the G20 countries met in Italy on Thursday to discuss women’s rights in Afghanistan. It is not yet clear how the new Taliban rulers in Afghanistan will proceed in the future. They have promised to protect certain rights for women and girls. But there are already reports of restrictions on working women, fears of closures of girls‘ schools and increasing violence against women.
de.euronews.com

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EU worried at Lebanon’s fast deterioration: The EU is deeply concerned at the rapid deterioration of the crisis in Lebanon, its ambassador to Beirut, Ralph Tarraf, said on Thursday after meeting President Michel Aoun. It reflects growing worry about a deterioration of the situation in Lebanon, where a two-year-long financial meltdown hit a crunch point this month as fuel shortages paralysed much of the country, sparking chaos and numerous security incidents. The crisis has sunk the currency by more than 90%, forced more than half of Lebanese into poverty and frozen depositors out of their accounts. The EU continues to provide substantial aid to the Lebanese people, Tarraf said, but Lebanese decision-makers – who have failed to agree on a new government for a year – needed to live up to their responsibilities.
reuters.com

Germany receives 2.25 billion euros from EU Covid recovery fund: On Thursday, the European Commission disbursed 2.25 billion euros to Germany in pre-financing, equivalent to 9% of the country’s financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Payouts will be tied to the implementation of Germany’s recovery plan submitted to the Commission. 1.5 billion euros will be invested in green hydrogen to help decarbonise the German economy. 2.5 billion euros will be used to help citizens acquire more than 800,000 decarbonised vehicles. 3 billion euros will be devoted to making more than 215 public services digitally available. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reiterated that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that health, the environment and the economy are all connected.
ec.europa.eu, reuters.com

Too lenient with Hungary: Lawmakers want to sue the EU Commission de.euronews.com
CO2 tax: How Europe could get China and the US on its side with new carbon tax cnbc.com
European Central Bank no longer rules out higher inflation in the medium term handelsblatt.com
Qatar: Failure to investigate migrant worker deaths leaves families in despair amnesty.org
United States: Seven US Capitol police sue former president Trump, say he incited deadly attack reuters.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Let us not fool ourselves: Afghan girls and women are on the verge of once more losing their freedom and dignity and falling back into the oppressive situation they were already in two decades ago. They could once again become second-class citizens, subject to violence and systematic discrimination simply because of their gender.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has urged the G20 to protect women’s rights in Afghanistan.
de.euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Macron calls for tax reform in Ireland: On his first visit to Ireland since entering office, French President Emmanuel Macron said it is for Ireland to decide on whether it joins an international agreement on setting a minimum global corporate tax rate. Recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed to a 15% rate right across the developed world. However, Ireland is determined to hang on to its 12.5%, an issue that has caused some friction between France and Ireland in the past. „I do respect the economic model of Ireland during the past decade and I think you delivered tremendous results,“ the French president said on Thursday. „I think now the situation is quite different. The post COVID-19 world is new…so the situation will probably request some in-depth change in our classical business models.“ During Macron’s visit, the leaders also discussed Afghanistan and Brexit.
euronews.com, politico.eu

Steinmeier and Zeman praise Czech-German relations: The heads of state of Germany and the Czech Republic have praised their countries‘ close partnership as a European success story and called for its further development. At a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Prague Castle, Czech President Milos Zeman spoke of Germany’s assistance to his country during the pandemic, among other things. Steinmeier said the partnership had such a firm foundation that it had become independent of the respective political constellations. In an historic first, Steinmeier also laid a wreath at the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Prague – the site of the last stand of the Czechoslovak paratroopers who killed Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich.
handelsblatt.com, english.radio.cz

Michel Barnier announces French presidential bid: Michel Barnier wants to be president of France, he announced Thursday evening. Speaking on TF1 television, the former EU chief Brexit negotiator said he was throwing his hat into the ring to be the candidate of the conservative Les Républicains party. Seeking to strike a more right-wing tone than centrist President Emmanuel Macron, he spoke of needing to „restore the authority of the state“ as well as „limit and have control over immigration“, reaffirming a proposal for a moratorium on arrivals. A veteran French politician, Barnier was twice a European commissioner and built most of his political credibility in Brussels.
politico.eu, yahoo.com

Greek health workers protest against introduction of mandatory Covid jabs: Hundreds of Greek frontline health workers protested on Thursday against a plan to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for the care sector as infection rates remained high. Healthcare workers observed a four-hour work stoppage against new rules obliging medical staff to vaccinate against the coronavirus, and to call for more resources to public health. The mandatory jab comes into effect for healthcare workers on Wednesday. Those who do not comply and have not had at least one shot of a vaccine will be suspended from their jobs.
reuters.com

Poland builds a fence to stop migrants reuters.com
Migration across the English Channel: France prevents more than 10,000 migrants from crossing rnd.de
German-Africa Summit: Chancellor Merkel’s good-bye and the end of an era dw.com
Austria: Former vice chancellor Strache awaits his first Ibiza verdict n-tv.de
Spain bans fertilisers near saltwater lagoon after dead fish wash up theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Merkel scores higher approval ratings than any other world leader: Almost 16 years after she first became Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel’s approval ratings in five major European countries and the United States remain higher than those of any other current world leader, a new YouGov poll shows. Merkel scored net positive ratings of +61 in Spain, +49 in France and +30 in Germany. Opinions in Italy, the US and UK were slightly less positive at +23, +17 and +15m, but of other world leaders only US President Joe Biden was even remotely close. The polling was carried out before this month’s chaotic events in Afghanistan.
theguardian.com

 

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