⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
Hancock appears to lose UN job days after accepting it: The UK’s former health minister Matt Hancock seems to have lost his job as a United Nations envoy for Africa, just days after the announcement of his appointment unleashed a wave of congratulations from former-ministerial colleagues and indignation from development campaigners. Leading figures across Africa and UK opposition parties had criticised the UN’s choice of the MP for the role because of his record in government during the coronavirus crisis, and on Friday the UN’s official spokesperson said the appointment would not be taken forward. Hancock claimed on Saturday that the offer had been withdrawn because of a technicality.
politico.eu, theguardian.com, bbc.com
UK will seek to ‘correct’ rulings by European Court of Human Rights: UK Justice Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday said an upcoming overhaul of the UK’s Human Rights Act would include a “mechanism” to “correct” rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. Legal experts responded with alarm to Raab’s suggestions that he will legislate to “correct” court judgments in human rights cases that go against the government. A professor of public law at Cambridge University said the proposals were “deeply troubling” and that they threatened to undermine basic standards of good governance. The shadow justice secretary, David Lammy, has urged Dominic Raab to tackle the “chaos” in the justice system before unpicking human rights law.
politico.eu, independent.co.uk, theguardian.com
Supply chain problems: UK finance chiefs fear supply chain drag for at least another year reuters.com
Bank of England will have to act to contain inflation – Bailey reuters.com
Southeastern trains: One of busiest rail networks is run by government after franchise row independent.co.uk
Labour needs big ideas to win voters back, report warns theguardian.com
Energy: French villagers bid to stop Tory donor Aquind laying cable under Channel theguardian.com
⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
⊂ EUROPE ⊃
- British government is considering enhanced security measures for members of parliament, including sending police protection when they meet with constituents at regular town hall-style events, in the wake of the knife attack that resulted in the death of long-serving lawmaker David Amess
- Labour’s Diane Abbott MP said she would prefer to meet constituents behind a screen to prevent possible stabbing attacks
- Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he wanted to avoid a knee-jerk reaction but insisted „the best had to come out of this hideous killing.“
- Amess is the second MP to be killed in the past five years, after the murder of Jo Cox by an extreme rightwing terrorist during the campaign for the Brexit referendum in 2016
- On Saturday, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the church Saturday where Amess was fatally stabbed
- Early investigations revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamic extremism, police said
- According to reports, the suspect had previously been referred to the government’s counterterrorism scheme, Prevent
EU states register 40% more asylum applications
- According to EU asylum agency EASO, significantly more people are applying for asylum in EU countries this year than in the previous year
- One reason is a new peak in asylum seekers from Afghanistan
- The German rescue ship „Sea-Watch 3“ has rescued 120 people from distress in the Mediterranean tagesschau.de
- Thousands of protesters marched Sunday in two Polish cities in solidarity with migrants and asylum-seekers at the Poland-Belarus border who have been pushed back by Polish authorities apnews.com
French ambassador ordered out of Belarus: France’s ambassador has been ordered out of Belarus and has already left the country, the French news agency AFP reported on Sunday, citing the French embassy in Minsk. It did not say why the ambassador, Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste, had been expelled. Belarusian media reported that Minsk had recalled its ambassador to Paris, Igor Fesenko.
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- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a farewell visit to Istanbul
- Merkel: „The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its negative and positive sides, will go on. It will be recognised by the next government.“
- The key talking points between Merkel and Erdogan included Ankara’s refugee agreement with the EU
- Merkel called on Erdogan to cooperate in dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan to help prevent another refugee crisis
EU says rift over with US on French submarines: A bitter transatlantic rift is over, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell declared Friday. „It has been an incident, it has been some misunderstanding, it has been a lack of communication,“ Borrell said on a visit to Washington. „That’s it, that’s over. Let’s move forward.“ France last month recalled its ambassadors, accusing the United States of deceit and Australia of backstabbing, after Canberra scrapped a multi-billion-dollar contract for French conventional submarines. Australia said it had decided to pursue nuclear submarines amid rising tensions with China and won the right to the technology as part of a new three-way alliance with the US and UK.
- British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has lost an appeal on her case in Iran, her lawyer said on Saturday
- Zaghari-Ratcliffe was handed a second jail sentence and travel ban on charges of spreading propaganda against the regime at the end of April
- She had been first detained at a Tehran airport in April 2016 following a vacation to see her family with her daughter
- After the latest setback in her case, Zaghari-Ratcliffe has asked to speak to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the hopes that he secure her release with the Iranian delegation travelling to Glasgow for COP26
- Negotiations will resume in a few days to revive the international nuclear agreement with Iran, according to information from Tehran stern.de
- Chinese military has condemned US and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region
- “Taiwan is part of Chinese territory,” the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said. “Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”
- China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, showing a capability that caught US intelligence by surprise, the Financial Times reported reuters.com
Energy price crunch: EU warns of fuel poverty dw.com
Klaus Regling: Architect of EU fiscal rules calls for reform euractiv.com
European Central Bank considers boosting purchases of EU recovery fund debt ft.com
Haiti: 17 US, Canadian missionaries kidnapped dw.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„We want the Supreme Court to have a last word on interpreting the laws of the land, not the Strasbourg court.“
UK Justice Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday said an upcoming overhaul of the UK’s Human Rights Act would include a “mechanism” to “correct” rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
German Greens vote to start formal coalition talks with SPD, liberals
- Majority of the German Greens‘ party congress voted in favour of entering formal coalition talks with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP)
- If the talks succeed, the three-way coalition would effectively mark the end of 16 years of a conservative-led government under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had announced plans to retire from politics before September’s vote
- That put the Social Democrats, which came first in the election, and their candidate for chancellor, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, in pole position to lead the next government
Conservative wins Hungarian opposition race to face Orbán in 2022: Conservative politician Péter Márki-Zay won the race to become the Hungarian opposition’s joint candidate for prime minister, according to results published late Sunday. Many left-wing and liberal opposition supporters backed Márki-Zay, who currently serves as mayor of the southern city of Hódmezővásárhely, in the hope that he could appeal to undecided Hungarians and voters who have become disenchanted with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party.
Spanish PM vows to abolish prostitution: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged on Sunday to outlaw prostitution in the country. Speaking to supporters at the end of his Socialist Party’s three-day congress in Valencia, Sanchez said that the practice „enslaves“ women. Prostitution was decriminalised in Spain in 1995. It is currently unregulated and there is no punishment for those who offer paid sexual services of their own will as long as it does not take place in public spaces. However, pimping or acting as a proxy between a sex worker and a potential client is illegal.
Thousands descend on Rome for anti-fascist protest: Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Rome to protest rising fascism in Italy. The action comes a week after right-wing groups stormed trade union headquarters.
Macron condemns ‚unforgivable‘ 1961 massacre of Algerians in Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has described a bloody police operation against Algerian pro-independence demonstrators 60 years ago that led to many deaths as an “unforgivable” crime. Attending a memorial for those killed, Macron laid flowers at a bridge over the River Seine which marked a starting point for the protests in October 1961 that led to one of the darkest chapters of French postwar history.
France marks one year since the assassination of Samuel Paty: French leaders held a day of commemoration in Paris on Saturday to memorialise Samuel Paty, the schoolteacher who was killed one year ago after a lesson he taught on free speech included highlighting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Cyprus to revoke 45 ‚golden passports‘: Cyprus has started procedures to revoke citizenship granted to 39 foreign nationals and six of their family members under its cancelled investment-for-passports programme. Former supreme court judge Myron Nikolatos headed an independent committee that conducted an inquiry into the issuing of so-called „golden passports“ between 2007 and last year. The probe found there was „criminal and political“ responsibility.
Activists arrested in Athens for protesting Beijing Olympics: Activists protesting against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics were arrested in Athens on Sunday as they attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis. The protest came ahead of ceremonies to light the Olympic flame and begin its journey from ancient Olympia to Beijing, where the games are due to start on 4 February.
Norway mourns after deadly Kongsberg attack euronews.com
France: President Macron’s approval rating rises in October, Ifop poll shows bloomberg.com
Austria: Former Chancellor Kurz denies being corrupt: Two-thirds don’t believe him, according to poll rnd.de
Italy: Tough Covid and reform course: How Italy is ahead of the rest of Europe handelsblatt.com
Belgium’s shift from nuclear under fire as gas price surge strains Europe ft.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Chat transcripts in Austria’s corruption scandal read by the ensemble of the Burgtheater: Austrian newspaper Der Standard and Vienna’s Burgtheater have joined forces to present a read-out of the messages sent between former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his advisor Thomas Schmid, among others. Last week, Kurz said he was stepping down from his office, days after his office was raided by Austrian prosecutors investigating him and close team members on suspicion of bribery and breach of trust.