⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
Climate activists chained to Corbyn’s home: Climate change activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s home in a third day of protests. Corbyn left his home but declined to meet or speak to any of the protesters. Easter eggs and flowers from the protesters, which had been taken into Corbyn’s home earlier, were later returned to the street by the Labour leader’s wife. The Extinction Rebellion group has ratcheted up its protests in recent weeks, blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge, smashing a door at the Shell building and shocking lawmakers with a semi-nude protest in parliament. Nearly 300 people have been arrested so far this week after campaigners blocked some of the capital’s most iconic locations, many camping in tents on the streets. The group advocates non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to reduce carbon emissions and avert what it says is a global climate crisis that will bring starvation, floods, wildfires and social collapse.
Tory MP launches attempt to oust Bercow as Speaker: Commons Speaker John Bercow is facing another attempt to oust him as Speaker after a leading Conservative MP began collecting signatures for a no-confidence motion. Crispin Blunt, a former chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, wrote to fellow MPs saying he wanted to table an early day motion saying Bercow was no longer impartial. He claimed to have some frontbench Conservative support for the move against the Speaker. However, Blunt said he would only table the motion if he got 100 signatures from MPs. Blunt acknowledged there was much to admire about Bercow’s near ten-year tenure but enough was enough as many MPs had an unshakeable conviction in his bias on the Brexit issue.
May could put off Queen’s speech amid Brexit turmoil: Prime Minister Theresa May could put off the Queen’s speech until later this year, with government sources saying there were no immediate plans to bring one forward while parliament had not yet approved a Brexit deal. May had been widely expected to schedule a Queen’s speech setting out the government’s legislative agenda within weeks, because she announced a two-year parliamentary session in mid-June 2017. However, some within the government believe May is prepared to ignore demands for a programme of new laws, even though parliament has run out of business to discuss apart from Brexit legislation.
Poll: Farage’s Brexit Party to top EU elections in Britain uk.reuters.com
Conservatives: Tory activist sent Muslim minister emails praising Enoch Powell theguardian.com
Bank of England: Labour hints at giving Bank of England green mandate if elected theguardian.com
Data protection: Government in email privacy blunder bbc.com
OperationShutdown: Anti-knife crime protest closes Westminster bridge bbc.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
politjobs.uk: Association of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)
⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU condemns US after Trump triggers Cuba sanctions: The European Union has condemned the United States after US President Donald Trump triggered a law that would ramp-up sanctions against European countries doing business in Cuba. The new rule, which will likely open EU businesses up to lawsuits from America, comes amid a backdrop of US-EU trade tensions and a hardening policy in Washington against the Caribbean state. National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the policy change during a speech Wednesday in Miami, which is home to exiles and immigrants from Cuba. He also announced a tightening of travel restrictions and remittances. The EU said the move to trigger the sanctions by the US was contrary to international law and a breach of a number of treaties signed by Trump’s predecessors. The EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and trade chef Cecilia Malmström warned that the bloc would consider all options at its disposal to protect its legitimate interests, including action against the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
EU proposes tariffs on US products in Boeing row: The EU has proposed tariffs on some $20 billion worth of US imports in a long-running dispute over Boeing aircraft subsidies. The proposal came after the WTO said earlier this month that the US had failed to remove some Boeing subsidies. US President Donald Trump’s administration last week proposed targeting a seven-page list of EU products for tariffs, ranging from large aircraft to dairy products and wine, to counteract the harm from EU subsidies for Airbus. Brussels has responded with its own list, including agricultural produce from dried fruit to ketchup, planes, fish, tobacco, handbags, suitcases, tractors, helicopters and video game consoles. European companies must be able to compete on fair and equal terms, said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Both sides have published lists of goods for consultation and both say they will wait for a WTO arbitrator to tell them how much action they should take.
Myanmar: Thousands of prisoners freed – but not the Reuters reporters wsj.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Europe has to be loved. If you do not love it, you are not capable of love. I love Europe, long live Europe!”
While giving his last plenary speech to the European Parliament, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe needs more affection from those who live in the bloc.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France announces contest to redesign Notre Dame spire: France will launch an international architectural competition to redesign the roofline of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a huge fire gutted the structure. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the competition would give the 850-year-old building a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of the current time. He said an estimation of the cost of rebuilding the cathedral had yet to be made. He added that the five-year goal to rebuild the cathedral was obviously an immense challenge, but also a historical responsibility. French billionaires, multinationals and private citizens have so far raised €880m for the restoration of Notre Dame.
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Suspected Isis recruiter arrested in Germany: German authorities on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of joining the “Islamic State” terorrist group in Syria and later helping send another new recruit for Isis from Germany to Syria. Federal prosecutors said the 28-year-old German national was arrested in Hamburg and is suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist organisation. He had travelled to Syria in November 2013 to join Isis and underwent military training. He returned to Germany in March 2014 and turned his attention to finding new recruits. In 2018, a total of 865 legal proceedings were initiated in Germany on the grounds of Islamic terrorism by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
Greece: Parliament calls on Germany to pay WW2 reparations reuters.com
Portugal: Government declares energy crisis as truckers’ strike cuts fuel supplies politico.eu
Denmark: Man suspected of placing grenade in Copenhagen foxnews.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Pope tells Greta Thunberg to carry on with climate protests: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg met briefly with Pope Francis on Wednesday. The teenage environmentalist sat in the front row of the Pope’s general audience in St Peter’s Square when the two spoke. She carried a sign reading “Join the Climate Strike”, which she showed the Pope after he greeted her. Pope Francis and Thunberg more or less see eye to eye on climate change. Francis has urged the world to protect the environment, even writing a 2015 document on fighting climate change.