Monday, 21 January 2019: Northern Ireland car bombing leads to four arrests, British MPs make plans to avert no-deal Brexit, Several injured at Macedonia rally in Athens, „Yellow Vests“ stage protest despite citizens‘ dialogue


Northern Ireland car bombing leads to four arrests: Police in Northern Ireland have arrested four men on Sunday in connection with a car bombing the night before. No injuries have been reported from the the explosion, which destroyed a car parked in front of the local courthouse in Northern Ireland’s Londonderry. Authorities believe that the „New IRA (Irish Republican Army)“ group is responsible. Two of the men, 34 and 42, were arrested late on Sunday, hours after police detained two other men in their twenties. Police said they were warned about the car bomb while checking another suspicious vehicle elsewhere in the city. The call came via a charity hotline in England. The town of Londonderry was once a flashpoint in fighting between Irish nationalists, who want to unite Ireland, and unionists, who want to keep Northern Ireland within the UK, known as the Troubles. The nationalist fight was spearheaded by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).,,

Alternative transport routes to avoid medicine shortage: Plans have been drawn up for the use of alternative transport routes and prioritisation of medicines as part of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, pharmacists have been told by the NHS. The government has been reviewing transport routes for all medicines to maximise the ability for supply to continue unimpeded after 29 March, according to a letter seen by the „Guardian“ that was was sent out on Thursday. Details of the correspondence emerged after the „Guardian“ reported that top doctors have urged ministers to reveal the extent of national drug stocks, amid growing evidence patients are stockpiling medication in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

MI5 named among top LGBT-inclusive employers: Security service MI5, a bank and a fire brigade have been named among the best LGBT employers by an equality charity. The charity’s annual list also includes the Welsh government and Newcastle city council. Law firm „Pinsent Masons“ is said to be the best lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) employer in the UK. MI5, Lloyds Banking Group and Cheshire fire and rescue were also praised by Stonewall, as well as a number of universities.

Local government: Plan to redirect inner-city funds to Tory shires „a stitch-up“


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British MPs make plans to avert no-deal Brexit: Several British lawmakers have indicated that they are launching attempts to take more control over the departure from the European Union. There are various backbench moves to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Rebel MPs are also reportedly working on an amendment to allow a small group of MPs to trigger a vote on Article 50 to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said the PM should rule out a no-deal Brexit. He said he believed it was inevitable that Article 50 would be delayed and that events in parliament last week mean that another referendum was now more likely. Labour’s Hilary Benn and the Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who are backing efforts for parliament to block a no-deal Brexit, both defended the action on Sunday. Downing Street said it was extremely concerning that MPs could attempt to override the government to suspend or delay the Article 50 process to leave the EU in their effort to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Trade Minister Liam Fox warned the parliament that it had no right to try to hijack the Brexit process. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said it was unclear how any talks between Britain and Ireland on resolving the question of the Irish backstop could help the EU’s deal with London on Brexit. Maas also said it would be very difficult to renegotiate Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the EU.,,,, (German foreign minister)

People want stronger cooperation between states: The world is largely open to immigration and multilateral cooperation, although people in Western countries are less likely to support migration, according to a new opinion poll published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). A global majority of respondents (57%) said they believed immigrants were „mostly good“ for their adopted country although there were some strong regional variations. The most welcoming regions to immigration were North America (66%) and South Asia (72%) of those asked stating that people coming to their country was “mostly good“. However, only 40% of Eastern Europeans and 46% of those living in Western Europe held the same opinion. People in Western countries were also less likely to support international cooperation and believe in social mobility than those in Asian countries. Just 54% of Germans said their country „has a responsibility to help other countries in the world“ – in contrast, 95% of Indians, and 94% of Pakistanis and Indonesians said their country should help other countries in the world.,

More migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean: Some 170 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after two dinghies sank in separate incidents near Libya and Morocco. Three migrants rescued by the Italian navy said 120 people had been on their dinghy when it sank on Friday, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said. Most of the passengers were from West Africa. Fifty-three migrants who left Morocco on a dinghy were also feared dead after a survivor told a Spanish aid organisation that the dinghy they were on had an unspecified collision in the Alboran Sea. In Italy, President Sergio Mattarella expressed his sorrow for the tragedy that had taken place in the Mediterranean. According to the IOM, at least 83 people have already died this year alone in an attempt to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.

Israeli and Syrian military trade claims on airstrikes: The Syrian capital Damascus was rocked by several major incidents on Sunday, with an explosion hitting near a military intelligence office and with Syrian state media saying forces repelled an Israeli aerial attack on Damascus International Airport. The state-run „Sana“ news agency reported that a bomb blast hit southern Damascus and that a terrorist had been arrested over the incident. The independent war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the huge explosion killed and wounded a number of people. In a separate incident, „Sana“ also reported that Israel fired six missiles near Damascus International Airport, but that Syrian forces shot down five of the missiles and diverted another to empty farmland. Israel did not directly respond to the reports, but said instead that its Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted a rocket that was fired at the northern Golan Heights. Chad and Israel have renewed diplomatic ties and the two countries‘ leaders signed several agreements., (Chad)

Merger of Siemens Mobility division with railway engineering group Alstom: France’s Le Maire seeks to convince EU Competition Commissioner Vestager on Siemens-Alstom Merger


I am convinced that a deal is within arm’s reach between now and the end of March.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said an EU-wide tax on the world’s top digital companies could be reached in the first quarter of 2019.


Several injured at Macedonia rally in Athens: Clashes broke out between riot police and protesters in Athens on Sunday as thousands of people took part in a rally against the Greek government’s name change deal with Macedonia, which is currently officially referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters outside of parliament after a group of protesters threw rocks, paint, flares, fireworks and other objects. Nine officers were reportedly injured, according to police. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras blamed the clashes on extremist elements of the ultra-right „Golden Dawn“ party. The protesters vehemently oppose the name change deal because they believe the name Macedonia implies territorial claims over Greece’s northern region, which bears the same name. The issue also strikes a chord with many Greeks who consider the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, which was ruled by Alexander the Great, to be a key part of Greek heritage and identity.,

„Yellow Vests“ stage protest despite citizens‘ dialogue: Demonstrations by „Yellow Vest“ protesters in Paris turned to riots as an estimated 84,000 demonstrators took to the streets in a 10th consecutive weekend of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at police who responded with water canon and tear gas to push them back. Police also tackled them with batons and controversial Flash-ball guns. There were 30 arrests in Paris, many suspected of carrying offensive weapons. The „Yellow Vest“ protests began in November over plans to raise fuel taxes. The fuel tax hikes were subsequently scrapped, yet the movement has morphed into a broader protest against Macron’s government and general anger over taxes and the cost of living.,

Protest for climate-friendly agriculture: Thousands of farmers from across Germany and their supporters protested at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate on Saturday, calling for climate-friendly agriculture and healthy food. Organisers said 35,000 protesters had converged on Berlin via three routes, some using tractors, from the state of Brandenburg which surrounds Germany’s capital. The protest was called to coincide with the German capital’s „Green Week“ agricultural fair, and Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner’s meetings with dozens of countries about more international cooperation on agricultural issues. Protest spokesperson Saskia Richartz said Germany’s largest farming concerns measured by area received €1 billion in subsidies while the smallest 200.000 farmyards received collectively €700 million. Environmental and animal-appropriate transformation of agriculture must be promoted, she said.,

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More protests against Serbian president: More than 10,000 protesters marched through the Serbian capital Belgrade on Saturday, demanding press freedom and electoral reform. It marked the seventh week of protests against President Aleksandar Vucic, who critics say is becoming increasingly autocratic by restricting press freedom and using hate speech against his opponents. The demonstrations started after an opposition leader was physically attacked last November.

France: Government tees up Michelin boss as Ghosn Renault replacement
Germany: Government sanctions Iran

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Germany considers speed limit for Autobahn: Deputy SPD chairman Ralf Stegner has spoken out in favour of examining the introduction of a speed limit of 130 km/h on German motorways. He said a speed limit could be up for discussion if it contributed to climate protection. Transport emissions in the country have not gone down since 1990. Instead, they have been going up due to increased overall car sales as well as that of more powerful sports cars and larger SUVs.,



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