Monday, 05 August 2019: Johnson announces cash boost for National Health Service, Iran captures another ship, EU wants to be prepared for terrorist drones, UK calls on EU to renegotiate Brexit deal


Johnson announces cash boost for National Health Service: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a cash boost of £1.8bn for NHS hospitals. Downing Street released a list of twenty hospital projects that will benefit from the upgrade programme, honouring a promise that Johnson made in his first speech as prime minister. Almost £1bn will be available immediately to go towards new equipment and upgrades to 20 hospitals. The money is coming from the Treasury and is not a re-allocation of funds from the Department of Health. Labour said it fell significantly short of the amount needed by the NHS and would not reverse years of cuts. Johnson has also committed to putting money into policing, education and regional infrastructure projects, a spending spree that opposition lawmakers describe as evidence the government is on an election footing for later this year.,,

New Tory chair appears to renege on promise of Islamophobia inquiry: The new Conservative chair, James Cleverly, has been strongly criticised after apparently reneging on a promise given for an independent inquiry focusing on Islamophobia in the party. In an interview on Sunday, Cleverly said there would be an independent inquiry but he did not explicitly confirm that it would be be specific to Islamophobia rather than a general inquiry into racism. A spokesman for the MCB said the party needed to clarify exactly what was being proposed, and it would be a travesty if Johnson did not honour the promise given during a BBC debate.

Twitter accounts at heart of Labour antisemitism battle, says report: Researchers say they have identified 36 key pro-Labour Twitter accounts being used to dismiss claims of antisemitism levelled against the party. Their report has been produced for the Community Security Trust, a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism. It found that the accounts have tweeted content claiming that allegations of antisemitism in the party were exaggerated, weaponised, invented or blown out of proportion, or that Labour and Corbyn were victims of a smear campaign relating to antisemitism.

Home Secretary Patel: I want criminals to feel terror
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Ashworth: No-deal Brexit can still be averted


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Iran captures another ship: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards have seized another foreign oil tanker on the Persian Gulf. Iran said the tanker was smuggling fuel to Arab states, without offering more details or evidence. The state news agency IRNA, quoting the Guards, said it was an Iraqi ship that was seized on Wednesday night. But Iraq denied any connection with the tanker. The Iraqi oil ministry said the country had nothing to do with ships of this small a size. Meanwhile, Iran said a fighter jet had gone down in the south of the country near the Persian Gulf, with two pilots surviving the crash. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly received an invitation to speak with US President Donald Trump at the White House last month, but Iran decided against a meeting. The German Green party has called for Germany’s participation in a proposed US-led mission to protect maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf.,,, (Ship); (Fighter jet); (Zarif); (Germany)

EU wants to be prepared for terrorist drones: EU Security Commissioner Julian King is worried about the potential use of drones to carry out terrorist attacks. Drones are becoming smarter and more powerful, which according to King makes them more attractive for legitimate use, but also for hostile acts. He said the technology could be deployed by those seeking to attack European cities and citizens. As drone technology advanced, it would be vital for authorities to monitor the threat both as it appeared today and how it would look in the future. King said the EU Commission was supportive of efforts by EU states to build networks for sharing information, increasing international engagement, and providing funding for projects to counter the threat of drones.,

Germany welcomes solution for rescue ship “Alan Kurdi”: A group of 40 migrants rescued by German charity ship “Alan Kurdi” have landed in Malta and will be taken care of by other EU member states after a deal negotiated by the German government. Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat late Saturday said the migrants would be allowed to disembark onto Maltese military ships and then to port. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer welcomed Malta’s decision and said the country was sending an important signal of solidarity ahead of a September EU meeting to address migrant rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, SOS Mediterranee has dispatched its new rescue ship “Ocean Viking” to rescue migrants off the coast of Libya. “Open Arms”, another rescue ship operated by a Spanish aid group, saved 123 migrants in the Mediterranean on Thursday and Friday. According to German news reports, EU border protection agency Frontex tolerates human rights abuses at the EU’s external borders and even violates human rights during deportations.,, (Rescue ships); (Frontex)

Georgieva wins EU nomination to head the IMF: World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva has won the backing of EU finance ministers to be Europe’s nominee for head of the International Monetary Fund IMF. Georgieva prevailed over former Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, after days of negotiations and two rounds of votes. As EU Commission Vice President for Budget and Human Resources from 2014 until 2016, Georgieva was in charge of the EU’s budget and staff. Despite this qualification, her nomination is still a controversial one since it creates a conflict with the IMF’s current age limit, which requires managing directors to take office before turning 65. Georgieva turns 66 on 13 August, less than a month before the next term is due to begin. Electing her would require the IMF board to vote through a change of its bylaws.,

European ports: EU harbours take stand against giant ships
Russia: Germany calls on Moscow to release protesters
Hong Kong: Strike disrupts subways and leads to cancelled flights
El Paso shooting: US Democrats say Trump’s racism leads to violence


UK calls on EU to renegotiate Brexit deal: Britain’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has called on the EU to reopen negotiations on the Brexit withdrawal agreement. In an article for the “Mail on Sunday”, Barclay called on the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to urge EU leaders to give him a mandate to revise the withdrawal agreement, otherwise a no-deal Brexit would be just around the corner. Barclay called the Irish border backstop provision anti-democratic and claimed other arrangements were feasible, though he did not provide any alternative solutions. The EU has consistently insisted that the withdrawal agreement could be modified but not renegotiated.,

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Amazon will pass cost of French digital tax to consumers: Amazon is planning to make French businesses using its platform pay France’s new digital tax instead of taking the hit itself, the company announced on Thursday. Amazon said it had no other option but to do so. The company warned the French government that this could put small French companies at a competitive disadvantage to their competitors in other countries. In response, France’s economy ministry said nothing obliged Amazon to pass on the costs of the digital tax to the small and medium-sized enterprises that use its services. Meanwhile, German newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” has reported that Amazon sent millions of audio clips of people talking within earshot of its Alexa smart speaker devices for analysis by Polish workers. According to a study by the auditing firm EY, Amazon had the world’s biggest innovation budget last year., (Digital tax); (Alexa); (Innovation budget)

France: Clashes after vigil for man who drowned in the River Loire
Bosnia-Herzegovina: State doesn’t help parents with disabled children

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China denies entry to German politician: The German parliament committee on digitisation was supposed to visit startups in China and learn about artificial intelligence. But the trip appears to be under threat due to China’s apparent refusal to let in one of the committee members, Margarete Bause, the Green party said Saturday. In the past, Bause has openly criticised the human rights situation of the Uighur Muslim minority in China.


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