Thursday, 25 July 2019: Johnson sacks over half the cabinet, Iran hints at tanker swap with UK, EU wants better implementation of anti-money laundering rules, Rescue ships face huge fine in Italy


Johnson sacks over half the cabinet: Boris Johnson gave key cabinet roles to leading Brexiteers after becoming prime minister. Dominic Raab and Priti Patel return to government as foreign secretary and home secretary respectively. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, which led calls for May to be deposed, is the new leader of the House of Commons. Johnson’s rival for the leadership, Jeremy Hunt, and his supporters fell victim to a merciless purge. Hunt himself turned down a demotion from foreign secretary to defence secretary and instead chose to return to the backbenches. Sajid Javid has been named as the new chancellor. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, a leading Brexiteer who is popular across the party, was the most surprising departure. She has been replaced by Ben Wallace, a former soldier and longstanding ally of Mr Johnson’s. Another prominent Brexiteer, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, was also ousted, along with Business Secretary Greg Clark – a vocal opponent of a no-deal Brexit. Johnson used his first speech as prime minister to express confidence over striking a Brexit deal with Brussels.,,

Theresa May has bid farewell: Theresa May has delivered a farewell speech in Downing Street before tendering her resignation as prime minister to the Queen. She wished new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government well, adding that their successes would be the country’s successes. She said serving as prime minister had been the greatest honour and thanked all those who had worked with her. Earlier, during May’s last duty in the Commons as PM, she used prime minister’s questions to give a distinctly lukewarm endorsement of Johnson and to suggest Jeremy Corbyn should follow her lead and step down as Labour leader.,

O’Mara urged to quit as MP after aide’s resignation: MP Jared O’Mara, who ousted Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam in one of the big surprises of the 2017 general election, is under increasing pressure to step down after claims he is failing his constituents. His former chief of staff Gareth Arnold posted a stream of tweets describing O’Mara as the most morally bankrupt person he had ever worked with. In Sheffield, many constituents demanded O’Mara, who sits as an independent, stand down. But some MPs urged compassion for O’Mara, who has spoken of making suicide attempts after being suspended from the Labour party when a series of sexist and homophobic tweets emerged.

Foreign affairs committee report: Civil servants who leak sensitive cables should face losing pension


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Iran hints at tanker swap with UK: Iranian President Hassan Rouhanin has indicated that Iran wants to de-escalate the British-Iranian crisis, hinting at exchanging two captured tankers. Tensions between the UK and Iran deteriorated earlier this month when British marines seized an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar which was suspected of breaking EU sanctions. The British-flagged “Stena Impero” was then seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Friday. Iran said it had detained the “Stena Impero” because it collided with a fishing boat. The crew of the “Stena Impero” are safe, the vessel’s owners have said after direct communication with them in Iran. US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has said the United States will escort American-flagged ships facing threats from Iran, but noted that such protection may not involve US military vessels trailing each ship. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday it was too early to talk about whether Germany would commit to any military alliance., (Rouhani); (Crew); (Germany)

EU wants better implementation of anti-money laundering rules: The EU Commission has warned that more should be done to counter the multi-billion-euro flow of dirty money in the European Union. Major shortcomings have emerged in the way banks and governments handle the issue. The EU had reviewed existing rules and practices to identify the main shortfalls as well as counter illegal flows. It concluded that banks often did not comply with anti-money laundering requirements, while watchdogs in member states failed to prevent and effectively address the shortfalls. The Commission adopted a communication and four reports that will support national authorities in better addressing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.,

Selmayr shifted to Vienna: Top EU civil servant Martin Selmayr is to leave Brussels to head the bloc’s mission in Vienna, Austria. The EU Commission confirmed Wednesday that Selmayr would not stay on as secretary general when fellow German Ursula von der Leyen takes over as president of the Commission in November. Before taking up duties in Vienna on November 1, Selmayr will continue acting as an adviser to Juncker on important strategic matters, according to the Commission. EU Commissioner for Personnel Günter Oettinger heaped praise on Selmayr, thanking him for his effective management as head of the EU’s civil service.

Deutsche Bank posts worst quarterly loss in four years: Germany’s biggest bank swears its radical overhaul will eventually pay off. But a $3.5 billion loss in the second quarter shows how much pain Deutsche Bank could face in the meantime. It is the bank’s biggest quarterly net loss since the third quarter of 2015. Without the restructuring cost, Deutsche Bank said it would have reported a net profit of €231 million, down 42% on the same period last year.,

Agriculture: EU close to fining Germany over nitrate pollution
Navigation satellite system: Galileo blackout followed software update aimed at preventing cyber attacks


Politicised language from the Conservative leadership raising the spectre of a no-deal Brexit is unhelpful, irresponsible and only increases the risks of a catastrophic severance, which could destabilise the global economy.
The EU Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has criticised British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statements about Brexit during the Tory leadership contest.


Rescue ships face huge fine in Italy: The Italian government won a parliamentary confidence vote on Wednesday on a security and immigration decree, which was drawn up by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. It toughens the sanctions on charity ships that seek to bring migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. The bill hikes maximum fines for charity ships that enter Italian waters without authorisation to one million euros from a previous 50,000 euros. The decree now moves to the upper house Senate for final approval which is expected to come before mid-August. German rescue ship captain Carola Rackete is to report to the EU Parliament in October on the sea rescue efforts in the Mediterranean Sea. Syrian activists have claimed that Turkish authorities rounded up and deported hundreds of Syrians in recent weeks. (Italy); (Rackete); (Turkey)

Kramp-Karrenbauer sworn in as German defence minister: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was sworn in as Germany’s new defence minister on Wednesday. She promised to bolster defence cooperation within the EU and repeated her calls to increase the German defence budget, a controversial demand for some in the Social Democratic party. The new minister stressed that while she advocated strengthening European defence capabilities, Germany would remain firmly anchored in the transatlantic alliance of Nato. She went on to promise that German soldiers would be provided with enough equipment and training hours, a sore point over the past few years, which have seen several reports that the German military equipment is short of spare parts. The Green party’s Agnieszka Brugger argued that the German military’s problems wouldn’t be solved with money, pointing out that the German defence budget had already risen by €10 billion since 2014.,

France to extend fertilisation rights to lesbians: Lesbians and single women in France may soon have access to medically assisted reproduction for the first time. The French government presented a draft law Wednesday on bioethics that includes expanding treatments such as in vitro fertilisation. The government said the measure was a response to unprecedented technological advances and societal change. The bill now goes to parliament.

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Home of German leftist politician attacked: The home of a local German politician from the leftist party Die Linke was attacked with an explosive device on Tuesday. Police said because investigators could not rule out a political motivation, a special task force responsible for combatting far-right extremism was now investigating the incident. One day earlier the left party’s Berlin headquarters were evacuated over a bomb threat.

Italy: Opposition party to submit no-confidence motion against Salvini over Russian funding allegations
Bulgaria: Unlimited donations for political parties allowed
Stolen art: Restitution expert criticises France and praises Germany

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German daycare under police protection after plans to stop serving pork: Plans to no longer serve children pork or gelatin-containing products like gummy bears at two daycare centres in a German city prompted a wave of criticism online and made headlines across the country on Tuesday. By the evening, the director of the two daycare facilities said they were putting the plans on hold for now following the outrage. The Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Central Council of Muslims warned of overreactions.


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