Monday, 19 August 2019: Canada criticises UK over dual-national Isis recruit, EU calls on both sides of Hong Kong crisis to enter into talks, Government crisis in Italy, Boris Johnson to meet Macron and Merkel


Canada criticises UK over dual-national Isis recruit: Canada said on Sunday that Britain’s decision to strip Jack Letts, a UK-Canadian man who joined the Islamic State group, of his British citizenship was an attempt to shift responsibility for what to do with him onto Canada. Letts travelled from Britain to Syria to fight with Islamic State in 2014, according to media reports, and he has been held in a Kurdish prison for two years. In an ITV interview from February, Letts said he wanted to return to Britain because he considered it his home. A statement from Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office confirmed a British media report from Saturday, which said that Letts’ UK passport had been torn up. The UK’s Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.,

Immigration staff report rising discrimination at Home Office: Home Office agencies embroiled in the Windrush scandal have reported rising levels of discrimination in the workplace, according to an internal survey of civil servants. Employees at the Border Force and Immigration Enforcement, which played a key role in the wrongful detention and prosecution of people who rightfully came to the UK from the Caribbean, said they faced increasing levels of discrimination from colleagues. More than one fifth of staff at Border Force have experienced discrimination while carrying out their duties, the worst figure for any of the 89 government agencies and departments.

Corbyn sets out election pitch: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will give a flagship speech in the key marginal seat of Corby in the east Midlands and set out his election pitch to transform the country as radically as Labour did in 1945 with the creation of the welfare state. Corbyn will promise to do everything necessary to stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit, as well as criticise Johnson for the Conservative party’s failure on Brexit. In some of his hardest rhetoric against the prime minister, he will brand Johnson a hard right leader who has made himself into Britain’s Donald Trump, funded by the hedge funds and bankers, committed to protecting the vested interests of the richest and the elites, while posing as anti-establishment.

Health policy: PM Johnson urges social media firms to block anti-vaccine messages
Stamp duty: Chancellor Javid denies floating idea of stamp duty for sellers


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EU calls on both sides of Hong Kong crisis to enter into talks: The EU has called on both sides of the escalating political standoff in Hong Kong to enter into talks to find a peaceful solution to the weekslong crisis. EU Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini called for restraint and steps to de-escalate the situation. She noted that Hong Kong’s independence was enshrined in the principle of one country, two systems established when China took back control of the territory from the UK in 1998. That included the right of peaceful assembly. An estimated 1.7 million people in Hong Kong defied police orders to stage a peaceful march in the pouring rain on Sunday. China’s state media has indirectly compared the protesters in Hong Kong to Nazis., (Mogherini);, (Protest); (State media)

Rescue ship rejects offer to dock in Spanish port: Spain on Sunday offered to allow the charity boat “Open Arms”, situated off the coast of Italy with more than a hundred people on board, to dock at the nearest Spanish port after the charity rejected a plan to dock in Algeciras. The charity said the situation was far too critical for them to risk the long journey to Spain. Four migrants jumped into the sea in desparation, hoping to swim the 30 miles from the ship to Lampedusa. They were rescued by crew members and taken back onboard the stranded ship. The boat’s captain said the migrants were psychologically broken and called for them to be evacuated immediately since the NGO could no longer guarantee their safety. France is ready to welcome 40 migrants from the “Open Arms”, AFP reported, citing the country’s interior ministry.,,,

Gibraltar rejects US request to seize Iranian tanker: Gibraltar will not comply with a US request to detain the Iranian oil tanker “Adrian Darya-1”. The Gibraltar government announced Sunday that the ship was free to go as US sanctions on Iran had no equivalent in the UK or the rest of the EU. The US had issued a warrant for the tanker seized near Gibraltar on suspicions that it was carrying oil to Syria and operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, designated a foreign terrorist organisation in the US.,,

Turkey: Coast guard intercepts hundreds of migrants on their way to Greek island of Lesvos
Juncker: EU Commission President Juncker interrupts vacation to have emergency surgery


Government crisis in Italy: The Italian Five Star Movement said Sunday that its coalition partner the League was no longer a trustworthy partner. The Five Stars’ top leadership ruled out a reconciliation with League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, dismissing him as unreliable. The two coalition parties have often split over key economic measures, and more recently over Salvini’s immigration policies. Five Star’s move to distance itself from the League came as the country’s political parties are preparing for an expected showdown in the Senate on Tuesday, where Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will hold a key speech after which he may decide to resign and formally open a government crisis.,

Boris Johnson to meet Macron and Merkel: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron this week. British media reported that Johnson will use his trips to France and Germany to tell European leaders that the British parliament cannot stop Brexit, and urge them to agree to restart negotiations to avoid a no-deal Brexit. A leaked UK government report paints a grim picture of the fallout from a no-deal Brexit, from medicines shortages, slowdowns at ports, and threats to clean drinking water. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said the report only outlined a worst-case scenario. British energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng dismissed concerns over potential food, fuel and drug shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit as scaremongering.,,,

Macron to host Putin ahead of G7 summit: French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. Macron has taken a keen interest in brokering an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and believes that the arrival in power of new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky could give a new impulse to halting the fighting. Putin will not be attending the G7 summit in Biarritz, in south-western France, at the weekend. But Macron will try to persuade him that better relations with western countries could help restore Russia’s place among the group of industrialised nations.,

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Germany warns refugees not to take Syria vacations: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a tough response to Syrian asylum seekers who leave Germany for holidays in their home country. If a Syrian refugee regularly took holidays in Syria, he could not honestly claim to be persecuted in Syria, Seehofer told the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag”. As soon as German officials learned of such trips, they would launch a probe into the migrants’ refugee status. Seehofer said German authorities were closely monitoring the situation in Syria, and as soon as conditions allowed, deportations would be conducted.

Germany 1: Jewish council warns against AfD’s right-wing extremism
Germany 2: Croatian diplomat in Berlin made racist statements
Switzerland: Vegans protested in Zurich for animal rights

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German soldiers to get free train travel: Soldiers in uniform will soon be able to ride Germany’s national rail service for free. The German military will reportedly pay the rail service Deutsche Bahn some €4 million a year to let all members of the armed forces enjoy free train travel. Due to their history, Germans have been hesitant to embrace their armed services, and a military career can carry far less prestige in German society than it may in other countries.


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