Friday, 27 September 2019: Johnson defends language after criticism from MPs, Whistleblower in Ukraine affair is CIA officer, EU Commissioner nominees rejected, World reacts to death of Jacques Chirac


Johnson defends language after criticism from MPs: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday tempers needed to calm after critics accused him of using language that had led to threats and abuse against his opponents. He insisted he deplored any threats to anybody, particularly female MPs, after he described one MP’s safety concerns as humbug. Many politicians were furious over his response on Wednesday to a question about Labour lawmaker Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016. When one female Labour lawmaker said she had threats from people echoing the prime minister’s rhetoric, Johnson replied that he had never heard so much humbug in his life. Cox’s husband Brendan said both sides should ponder the impact of the words they used.,

MPs reject recess for Tory conference: MPs have rejected the government’s request for a three-day recess while the Conservatives stage their annual party conference. MPs voted 306 to 289 to reject the motion asking for the Commons to adjourn until Thursday next week. In normal circumstances, parliament adjourns to allow MPs to attend their party conferences, but opposition parties have argued that parliamentary democracy and scrutiny during the current constitutional crisis should take precedence.,

Johnson’s tax pledge would cost £8bn a year: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to raise the threshold for the top rate of income tax from £50,000 to £80,000 would cost £8bn a year and boost the incomes of the highest-earning 8%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. About three-quarters of the tax benefit would go to the highest-income 10% of households. The thinktank said it was dismayed that the government appeared to be moving ahead with plans that would widen inequality and cost billions of pounds in extra borrowing.

Threats against MPs: PM’s adviser Cummings said delivering Brexit only way to solve abuse of MPs
Police: Man arrested outside office of Labour MP Jess Phillips
House of Commons: Opposition planning to again seize control of Commons next week


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Whistleblower in Ukraine affair is CIA officer: The informant who revealed that US President Donald Trump sought foreign help for his re-election is a CIA officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to the “New York Times”. The man has since returned to the CIA. An unclassified version of the whistleblower’s complaint was made public Thursday by the House intelligence committee. The complaint states that the whistleblower received information from multiple officials that Trump was using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election. It also says the White House sought to lock down all records of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which the whistleblower says underscored that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the White House of a cover-up. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said Thursday he believed the whistleblower had acted in good faith and tried to handle a unique situation as best he could. (CIA);,, (Complaint)

EU Commissioner nominees rejected: The EU Parliament’s legal committee has rejected the Commissioner candidates from Romania and Hungary, citing conflicts of interest. The EU transport commissioner-designate, Romanian Rovana Plumb, and the proposed commissioner for EU enlargement, Hungary’s Laszlo Trocsanyi, were told confirmation hearings could not go ahead because of inconsistencies in their financial statements. Criticism of Plumb centred on two loans worth nearly €1 million that she did not state in her original financial declaration. Trocsanyi, a former Hungarian justice minister, has come under scrutiny over links between a law firm he founded and work that it carried out for the Hungarian government. An EU official said incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen could ask the Hungarian and Romanian governments to select new candidates.,,

EU Council President Tusk counters Trump: Two days after US President Donald Trump told world leaders that the future belonged to patriots and not globalists, European Council President Donald Tusk used his speech at the UN General Assembly to counter that the patriotism of the 21st century must also have a global dimension. He said the idea of an imminent clash between globalism and patriotism was false and dangerous. Tusk said he equated globalism with solidarity, a term he preferred.

Brexit Party heads list of top earners: The lawmakers from Britain’s Brexit Party have collectively declared outside earnings of between 2 million and 4.5 million euros per year, making them the highest earners in the EU Parliament, Transparency International said Thursday. In total, European lawmakers have declared between 6.3 million and 16.2 million euros of annual outside income, meaning the Brexit Party members, who hold less than 4% of seats, could account for more than a quarter of the total.

Nuclear energy: EU ministers want to finance nuclear projects
EU copyright directive: Copyright directive not in danger, EU says following Google backlash
EU accession: German parliament in favour of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Pipeline: Nord Stream 2 sues the EU over new gas rules


World reacts to death of Jacques Chirac: An array of world leaders lined up to praise former French president Jacques Chirac as a great statesman who fiercely defended French and European interests, after his death at 86 on Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron said Chirac had championed a proud and independent France on the world stage and protected France from extremism and hate. He called Chirac a great Frenchman who brought the country together. German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to Chirac as a great statesman and European. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Chirac as a formidable political leader who shaped the destiny of his nation. Outgoing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Chirac’s legacy for France and the EU would last forever.,,

Germany pushes multilateralism at UN: Humanity faces a number of big issues that can only be dealt with by countries working together, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in his speech before the UN on Wednesday. Working together is not a betrayal and shows love for one’s own country, Maas said, indirectly contradicting US President Donald Trump’s anti-globalist speech days before. He called for a sustainable foreign policy which involves all stakeholders, defends joint rules and institutions, and focuses on prevention and finding permanent solutions to conflicts. Maas has also urged Iran to hold talks with the United States without preconditions. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that Iran has been accumulating, or has been prepared to accumulate, enriched uranium. Iranian intelligence officers have detained three family members of Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad. (Maas); (Uranium); (Activist)

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Austria announces climate emergency: The Austrian parliament decided Wednesday to declare a climate emergency, making climate change a priority issue just four days from parliamentary elections. Austrians will head to the polls this Sunday, four months after the Ibiza video scandal blew up the conservative/far-right coalition formed in 2017. According to opinion polls, former conservative chancellor Sebastian Kurz is cruising to victory but he will still need coalition partners to secure a majority. Prosecutors have confirmed an investigation against the ex-leader of the far-right FPÖ party, Heinz-Christian Strache, on suspicion of embezzling party funds. Strache was forced out of government over the Ibiza scandal.,,

Switzerland: Parliament rejects burqa ban
Germany 1: Attacks on LGBT+ people increase
Germany 2: Parliament approves Aachen Treaty with France
Slovakia: Police allegedly spied on journalists

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Dutch bank hit by money laundering investigation: Dutch lender ABN Amro Group NV faces a criminal probe in the Netherlands over a lack of anti-money-laundering and terrorism financing controls. Prosecutors said ABN Amro reported suspicious transactions too late or not at all over a long period. It also failed to properly investigate client behavior and did not sever ties with suspect clients in a timely fashion.,


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