Monday, 29 June 2020: Johnson to unveil new infrastructure plan, EU vaccine drive raises billions, Duda wins first round of Polish presidential election, Greens surge in France’s municipal elections


Johnson to unveil new infrastructure plan: Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a plan this week to get Britain moving again after the coronavirus lockdown. Johnson will make a speech on Tuesday to set out plans to fast-track building projects such as hospitals, schools, housing, and road and rail infrastructure, part of efforts to try to stem a fall in support for his government. This would be the first major schools rebuilding programme since 2014. It comes a decade after Labour’s flagship Building Schools for the Future scheme was scrapped by the Conservatives in 2010, an initial casualty of austerity that halted 715 rebuild projects.,

Mark Sedwill to stand down as UK’s top civil servant: Mark Sedwill, the most senior official in Boris Johnson’s government, will stand down in September, Downing Street confirmed. Sedwill will leave his posts as Cabinet secretary, head of the civil service and national security adviser. His departure will be seen as a victory for Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s most senior aide, who has had a tense relationship with Sedwill, and Michael Gove, the cabinet minister who is pushing through a restructuring of government departments. Chief Brexit negotiator and close Johnson ally David Frost will take over as national security adviser and the government will shortly launch the search for Sedwill’s successor as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service.,

Johnson does press ups to show coronavirus recovery: Prime Minister Boris Johnson did some press ups to show he was “as fit as a butcher’s dog” in an interview with the “Mail on Sunday” newspaper, just months after he was hospitalised with the coronavirus. Some people have compared the photo to something Russian President Vladimir Putin would do as a show of physical strength to instil confidence in his leadership.,

Leicester could be first UK city to face local coronavirus lockdown, Priti Patel confirms
Ireland: Micheál Martin elected as new prime minister
Social media: Peers call for tougher regulation of digital and social media in UK


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EU vaccine drive raises billions: A virtual pledging summit held on Saturday raised €6.15 billion to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. The pledging conference, which was organised by the European Commission and international advocacy group “Global Citizen”, was attended by several world leaders, artists and activists. Von der Leyen spoke of an unbelievable result. The Commission and Germany together pledged around €5.3 billion, and other large pledges came from the US and Canada, among other countries. Speaking before the summit, von der Leyen said that a challenge such as the pandemic could be met only if the world united, stressing that investments in vaccines were needed at unprecedented speed and scale.,

Macron and Putin discuss Ukraine and Libya: French President Emmanuel Macron is confident of progress in key areas with Russia, notably the crisis in Libya, his office said on Friday after a video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Macron expressed concerns about Turkey’s increasing presence in Libya, a presidential source said. Russia, France and several other countries back forces led by Khalifa Haftar who is fighting the UN supported government in Tripoli, which is backed mainly by Turkey. Putin replied that the countries would work together to establish a ceasefire on the basis of the current military situation. The two leaders also spoke about Syria and Ukraine.,

Merkel has no illusions about orderly Brexit: German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t have big expectations of the Brexit talks between the EU and the UK. She told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that it would of course, be in Britain’s and all EU member states’ interests to achieve an orderly departure. But that could only happen if it was what both sides wanted. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British government wanted to define for itself what relationship it would have with the EU after the country leaves. It will then have to live with the consequences, Merkel said, that is to say with a less closely interconnected economy. During a phone call with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday, Johnson said his government would negotiate constructively, but was also ready to resort to World Trade Organisation rules after the transition. That would happen automatically if the negotiating partners do not find agreement., (Merkel); (Johnson)

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Global market: EU Commission President von der Leyen calls for review of EU competition law
Meat industry: EU wants to raise social standards for seasonal workers
Nato calls for commitments for coronavirus contingency plan
Trump retweets video of apparent supporter saying “White Power”; Trump brother files lawsuit seeking to block niece’s tell-all book;
Russia secretly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill US troops, intelligence says


I am the one keeping the books.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has made it clear that he does not want Germany to dictate anything in the current economic crisis, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave an interview calling on European countries with economic problems to use all financial instruments available.


Duda wins first round of Polish presidential election: The incumbent Andrzej Duda won the most votes in Sunday’s Polish presidential election, but fell short of the 50% he would need to win without a second round of voting, according to an exit poll. Duda, allied with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, received 41.8% of the vote, with second place going to the liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, with 30.4%. Trzaskowski, in a speech to supporters, made a pitch to all those who had supported other candidates to rally around him in the runoff. He said the result showed that over half of Poland’s society wanted change.,

Greens surge in France’s municipal elections: France’s Green party and its left-wing allies have made significant gains in a second round of local elections. They captured cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg and Besançon. President Emmanuel Macron centrist LREM party failed to win in any major city. However, in a rare positive development for Macron, his popular Prime Minister Édouard Philippe was elected mayor of the north-western port city of Le Havre. In Paris, incumbent Mayor Anne Hidalgo won comfortably. In an election marked by the coronavirus, many people stayed away from polling stations, leading to an historic level of abstention.,,

German foreign minister says Trump ouster will not heal US ties: According to Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, current tensions between Germany and the United States wouldn’t be resolved by US President Donald Trump failing to win reelection. “Everyone who thinks everything in the trans-Atlantic partnership will be as it once was with a Democratic president underestimates the structural changes,” Maas said in an interview the German press agency DPA published on Sunday.

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No new corona deaths within a day in Madrid: For the first time in months, Madrid, Spain’s hardest-hit region in the coronavirus pandemic, has registered zero deaths from the virus. Regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso wrote on Twitter on Sunday that by working together, it could be ensured that this nightmare did not repeat itself.,

Germany to overhaul accounting regulation after Wirecard scandal
Spain: Protest for social reboot
Austria: Chancellor Kurz: “Zero tolerance: we don’t want Turkey’s conflicts in Austria”
Sweden: Expert says WHO made mistake in Covid list


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Cell phones in German ministries don’t support coronavirus app: The German government wants as many citizens as possible to use the new coronavirus warn app. Meanwhile, the federal ministries themselves are barely able to use the app. According to a report by “Bild am Sonntag”, employees in the ministries of finance, development, agriculture and culture are using outdated cell phones that don’t support the app. The finance ministry has stated that it was working on enabling the app to be used on all devices in a timely manner.,


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