Thursday, 15 August 2019: Labour vows to bring down Johnson and delay Brexit, Merkel calls for peaceful solution to unrest in Hong Kong, Johnson accuses MPs and EU of collaboration over Brexit, Migrant rescue ship allowed to enter Italian waters


Labour vows to bring down Johnson and delay Brexit: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged rebel Tories and opposition leaders to help block a no-deal Brexit by ousting Boris Johnson as prime minister and allowing Labour to form a caretaker government until a general election. He said Labour would campaign in the election to hold a second referendum on the Brexit terms, including an option as to whether the country should remain in the bloc three years after it voted to leave. Jo Swinson, the leader of the Lib Dems, immediately dismissed the idea that Corbyn could be a caretaker prime minister, saying Corbyn was not the person who would be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task. Green MP Caroline Lucas welcomed Corbyn’s call for a vote of no confidence but insisted a referendum must be held before any general election.,,

MP Sarah Wollaston joins Lib Dems: Former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston has joined the Liberal Democrats, saying it was the best way for her to fight for the UK to remain in the EU. Wollaston was one of three Tory MPs to quit the party in February in protest over the way Brexit was being handled. She then joined what would become Change UK, but she left that newly-formed party in June. She follows ex-Change UK and Labour MP Chuka Umunna in joining the Lib Dems – which now has 14 MPs.,

Mayors and council leaders call for specific budget for the north: A group of city mayors and council leaders representing more than 15 million people in the north of England are launching a campaign for the region to have its own specific budget, as a way of spreading economic growth further around the country. The politicians, who are board members of Transport for the North (TfN), argued that the money is the bare minimum needed to catch up from decades of under-investment compared with London and the south-east.

Knife crime: Anti-knife branding in chicken shops racist or stupid, says MP Lammy
NHS: EU citizens in UK must prove right to free health care after no-deal Brexit
Transport secretary Shapps: UK could still scrap Heathrow airport expansion


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Merkel calls for peaceful solution to unrest in Hong Kong: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pleaded for a peaceful solution to the unrest in Hong Kong. Merkel told reporters on Wednesday that everything must be done to prevent violence and to find possibilities for a solution within the framework of dialogue. Merkel said residents’ rights, including freedom of opinion, have a long tradition in Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has recommended that German citizens postpone planned trips to Hong Kong. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on all sides to restart talks to end violence and bring a peaceful outcome to the crisis surrounding pro-democracy protests. Satellite images show more than 500 Chinese military vehicles in and around a soccer stadium near the border with Hong Kong, which some have interpreted as China threatening increased force against protesters. China has said the protests were beginning to show the sprouts of terrorism. Cathay Pacific Airways has terminated the employment of two pilots over their involvement in the Hong Kong protests. (Merkel); (Maas); (Le Drian);, (Satellite images); (Pilots)

Johnson accuses MPs and EU of collaboration over Brexit: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accused MPs who want to block Brexit of collaborating with the EU. Speaking live on Facebook, where he answered pre-selected questions from members of the public, Johnson appeared to be rehearsing an election campaign argument that the EU and pro-remain MPs will be to blame if there is no deal. His argument was that the EU will not offer any concessions if it believes parliament will stop a no-deal Brexit, and as such he claims that MPs opposed to no deal are actually making it more likely. Johnson said the longer the standoff continued the more likely a no-deal Brexit was becoming. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has said he would fight with every breath in his body to stop Johnson from proroguing parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit without the consent of MPs., (Johnson); (Bercow)

Migrant rescue ship allowed to enter Italian waters: An administrative court in Italy has ruled that Spanish rescue ship “Open Arms”, which is carrying around 150 migrants, should be allowed to enter Italian territorial waters in defiance of a ban imposed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The court said the charity vessel clearly faced an exceptionally serious situation. As such, the boat should be allowed into Italian waters and receive immediate assistance for the most needy rescued persons. However, the court ruling did not say whether the boat should be allowed to dock or the migrants disembark. Salvini responded that he would not allow the ship entry regardless of the ruling.

EU says new steel tariffs are working well: Steel tariffs introduced by the EU to protect domestic manufacturers against a surge in imports have worked well, the EU Commission said Wednesday. These measures were introduced as a permanent feature in February 2019 to prevent injury for the EU steel industry caused by increased imports and trade diversion, as a consequence of the US decision last year to impose tariffs on steel products. A study found that the EU measures have overall worked well during the first year of implementation. Nevertheless, the Commission made some further proposals as the EU looks to fine tune the existing safeguards for the industry.

Google job search: Competitors call on EU Competition Commissioner Vestager for help


Hundreds honour victims of Genoa bridge collapse: Relatives and dignitaries on Wednesday remembered the 43 lives lost when the Morandi bridge in the Italian port city of Genoa collapsed one year ago. The president, prime minister and other political leaders were in attendance, putting aside their political bickering back in Rome to support relatives of the victims. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has vowed to complete a new bridge in Genoa by April. Some parts of the reinforced concrete viaduct had lacked proper maintenance for 25 years before it crumbled, according to a technical report commissioned by investigators, Genoa’s top prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said after the ceremony. Cozzi said he expected to complete his investigation into the disaster by the first half of next year.,,

Germany nears recession: In ominous signs of the damage being done by the trade war between China and the United States, data released on Wednesday indicated that the export-driven German economy is edging toward a recession. The country’s gross domestic product contracted by 0.1% from April through June. Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarterly contractions. Deutsche Bank analysts predicted that the economy would continue to shrink in the current quarter, meeting the technical definition of a recession. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier spoke of a warning signal. He said recent figures showed that simmering trade conflicts had taken their toll. Exporters are certain that the German economy would face additional problems if Britain were to exit the EU without an agreement.,

Portuguese fuel tanker drivers on strike: Three days into a strike, Portuguese fuel tanker drivers have rejected a new government decree requiring them to fulfil minimum services or face arrest or even jail. Petrol rationing has already begun and the government’s decree is aimed at keeping basic services running. The unions are seeking staged increases in their basic salaries and improved working conditions. Pedro Pardal Henriques, vice president of the National Hazardous Materials Drivers’ Union that called the strike, told journalists he was ready to sit down with employer association ANTRAM on Thursday, a national holiday.,

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France’s jobless rate at lowest level since 2008: The unemployment rate in the country fell back during the second quarter to reach its lowest level since the global financial crisis of 2008. The jobless rate fell to 8.5% in the second quarter from 8.7% in the first. A steady improvement in the jobs market has given President Emmanuel Macron some relief in the face of months of street protests against government policies. Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said that the latest figures showed progress in terms of young people taking up apprenticeships and jobs.

Germany: Jewish man attacked in Berlin
Austria: Alleged mastermind of Ibiza video admits to false testimony in court
France: Digital solution to combat general practitioner shortage
Spain: Hundreds of trains cancelled because of rail strike
Estonia and Finland: Tunnel causes friction

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Greta Thunberg sets sail across the Atlantic: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has set sail from Plymouth on a racing yacht bound for New York, where she will participate in United Nations climate talks in September. Highlighting the urgency of cutting carbon emissions, the 16-year-old last month announced she would no longer fly to environmental conferences. The yacht is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity onboard, with the aim of making the journey zero-carbon. Thunberg is accompanied by her father Svante, the professional sailors Boris Hermann and Pierre Casiraghi, and a documentary filmmaker named Nathan Grossman.,,


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