Monday, 07 October 2019: Johnson reportedly wrote letter backing Arcuri, Finnish PM Rinne expects Brexit delay, Second whistleblower in Ukraine affair, German interior minister warns of refugee wave


Johnson reportedly wrote letter backing Arcuri: Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote a letter recommending US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri for a job as the head of a technology quango when he was mayor of London, according to the “Sunday Times”. Johnson has been embroiled in a conflict of interest row since details of the pair’s relationship emerged last month. Arcuri accompanied Johnson on three overseas trade missions led by the then mayor, after initially being turned down for two of them. Arcuri’s companies were also awarded £126,000 of public money. Johnson is facing a possible investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into whether he breached laws on misconduct in public office and the London Assembly has asked for details of his relationship with Arcuri to establish whether there was a potential conflict of interest.,

UK could be flexible on details of Northern Ireland veto, says Barclay: Britain is open to some flexibility on the proposed mechanism that would allow lawmakers in post-Brexit Northern Ireland to decide whether the British province remains in regulatory alignment with the EU, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday. The key issue was the principle of consent, he said, which is why the backstop was rejected three times. Barclay also said Britain was willing to discuss the detail of customs proposals.

Expert quits Home Office drug panel over political vetting: Prof Alex Stevens has quit the Home Office’s drug advisory panel over alleged political vetting of panel members by the government. Stevens claimed political interference in the appointment process was undermining the panel’s independence. Stevens said he knew of at least one other person who has been barred from serving on the council after government vetting, amid growing calls for a fundamentally new approach to drug policy.

Labour: Corbyn must lead any interim government, says shadow chancellor McDonnell
Abortion: Police investigate extremist targeting of Stella Creasy by anti-abortion group
County lines: Magistrates raise concerns over county lines defence loophole


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Finnish PM Rinne expects Brexit delay: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte remains unconvinced on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan after the two leaders spoke on the phone Saturday. Rutte said important questions remained about the British proposals. Talks between the UK’s top Brexit representative, David Frost, and EU negotiator Michel Barnier were halted on Friday with no progress, despite the UK’s efforts to keep going throughout the weekend. The negotiators are set to meet again this Monday. Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne has said he expected Britain to ask for another deadline extension. French President Emmanuel Macron has given Johnson until the end of the week to revise his Brexit plan. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is seeking a meeting with Johnson next week. (Rutte), (Rinne), (Macron), (Varadkar)

Second whistleblower in Ukraine affair: A second whistleblower has come forward with concerns about US President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. This whistleblower has first-hand knowledge of allegations listed in a previous whistleblower’s complaint, the lawyer representing this person, Mark Zaid, told ABC News on Sunday. Trump lashed out at Republican Senator Mitt Romney on Saturday, after Romney rebuked him for calling on Ukraine and China to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to stop any Democratic push for Trump’s impeachment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied being pushed by Trump to investigate Biden. Thousands of protesters rallied in Ukraine on Sunday to protest Zelenskiy’s plan to allow local elections to take place in the separatist east. (Whistleblower), (Romney), (McConnell), (Zelenskiy), (Ukraine)

German interior minister warns of refugee wave: During a visit to Greece, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned of a larger influx of refugees than that seen in Europe in 2015. The minister said Germany needed to help its European partners even more in patrolling the EU’s external borders. Seehofer also said the EU had to do more to support Turkey so that refugees did not attempt the often dangerous crossing to Greece. Turkey was doing a great deal in welcoming refugees, he said, which was also in Germany’s interests.

Finances: EU Commission rejects criticism of budgetary control
Hong Kong: Court rejects bid to suspend mask ban
Syria: Erdogan and Trump will meet next month
Tunisia: Voting ends in uncertainty and discontent


French interior minister admits mistakes after Paris knife attack: France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner rejected opposition calls for his resignation on Sunday but acknowledged opportunities had been missed to prevent the killing of four police personnel by a radicalised colleague. Immediately after the attack on Thursday, Castaner had announced that the assailant had never shown any behavioural problems and never aroused the slightest reason for alarm. The case was initially handled as an ordinary homicide case, before analysis of the assailant’s phones led it to be passed to counter-terrorism police. Some opposition politicians have accused the government of playing down the missed clues in the immediate aftermath of the killings and said Castaner should resign.,

Portugal’s Socialists claim election victory: Portugal’s ruling Socialists (PS) have won Sunday’s parliamentary election with 37%. They will seek to form a stable government, senior Socialist lawmaker Ana Catarina Mendes said. The main opposition Social Democrats (PSD) reached 29% according to preliminary numbers. Results could change as votes in the largest constituencies such as Lisbon or Porto had not been counted late Sunday evening.

Kosovo opposition wins election: Kosovo’s two opposition parties Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) party have won an early general election. The ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) came in third. Initially, President Hashim Thaci’s PDK party claimed to be in the lead according to its own results, but later admitted defeat.,,

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French protests against IVF treatments for all: Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Sunday in protest to a government bill which allows single women and lesbians to become pregnant with fertility treatments. The law would end discrimination over women’s reproductive rights by allowing lesbian couples and single women access to medically-assisted procreation, such as IVF and sperm donation. Opponents of the proposed law claimed children require a paternal figure and that without one the traditional family structure would be undermined.,

Thousands protest for Scottish independence: Thousands of people have marched through Edinburgh in support of Scottish independence. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not join the event but said she was there in spirit. Earlier this year, Sturgeon said she would demand Holyrood was given the power to hold a second referendum on independence.

Italy: Renzi threatens to sue Trump’s former campaign aide
Germany: US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, chosen as US administration’s special envoy to Serbia and Kosovo
Hungary: Swine flu virus is spreading

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Destruction of German memorial to right-wing terror victim: Officials in the eastern German city of Zwickau are investigating the destruction of a public memorial dedicated to the first victim of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a right-wing extremist terror group that killed ten people in anti-immigrant attacks between 2000 and 2007. German politicians condemned the destruction of the memorial. Zwickau’s mayor Pia Findeiss said the sawing down of the tree was a sign of intolerance, a lack of democratic understanding and disrespect toward terror victims and their families.


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