Thursday, 29 August 2019: Davidson expected to quit as Scottish Tory leader, Queen Elizabeth approves UK parliament suspension, EU wants to save Mercosur trade deal, Italy agrees new government coalition


Davidson expected to quit as Scottish Tory leader: Ruth Davidson is expected to quit as leader of the Scottish Conservative party because of her irreconcilable differences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson over Brexit and the pressures of motherhood. She is said to be considering her position, with a statement on her future likely to be made this Thursday. Sources told the BBC that Davidson’s decision was based on a mixture of personal and political factors. She made abundantly clear during the Tory leadership campaign that she did not believe Johnson was the right UK party leader, with some of her close allies describing Johnson as a disaster for the Scottish Tories. One of Johnson’s first acts as prime minister was to sack her close friend and ally David Mundell, who served as Scottish secretary for five years, against her advice.,

Education package not enough, say school leaders: Government plans that promise increased funding for education, more free schools and a crackdown on pupil behaviour have been greeted with a mixture of scepticism and outrage. School leaders said any additional funding was welcome, but that the £3.5bn on offer was nowhere near enough to repair the damage caused by years of sustained cuts. There was also widespread alarm about proposals for a package of disciplinary measures, including a renewed emphasis on exclusions and support for the use of reasonable force to improve behaviour in schools.

Labour plans to phase out animal testing as part of manifesto promise: The party pledged, if in government, to ban trophy hunters from selling their spoils in the UK. Labour would also carry out a review into the use of whips on race horses by jockeys, forbid electric pulse fishing and prohibit the sale and use of snares and glue traps, which are used to catch animals. Under a future Labour government, the party would further look to review whether the use of whips in horse racing should be restricted.

London: Sir Vince Cable to stand down as Twickenham MP


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Queen Elizabeth approves UK parliament suspension: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament. The move enraged lawmakers, including many from Johnson’s own Conservative Party, who will have far less time to try and stop him delivering a Brexit without an agreement with the EU. Johnson insisted it was normal procedure, aimed entirely at giving his government time to prepare a new domestic agenda and not at ram-rodding his Brexit plans past parliament. But Commons Speaker John Bercow criticised Johnson’s intention to prorogue parliament, describing it as a constitutional outrage aimed at preventing MPs from debating Brexit. According to the European Central Bank ECB, banks based in Britain will have moved around 1.3 trillion euros worth of assets to the eurozone by the time the country leaves the EU.,, (Johnson); (ECB)

EU wants to save Mercosur trade deal: Brazil is under pressure from European countries over its environmental policies, in particular over a perceived failure to deal with an epidemic of forest fires in the Amazon basin. Despite current issues over the Amazon fires, the EU should be able to conclude a free-trade agreement with the Mercosur bloc of South American countries by late 2020 in an optimistic scenario, a senior EU trade official said, adding that much would ride on Brazil’s attitude. The EU Commission’s director general of trade, Sabine Weyand, said countries calling for Brazil’s exit from the agreement because of problems with the implementation of climate protection policies should remember that they themselves have had problems achieving their own climate protection goals.,

Another 100 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean: The ship “Mare Jonio”, operated by an Italian charity, picked up around 100 migrants in a rubber dinghy which was drifting and had already begun to deflate. The survivors include women who are pregnant. Some of the migrants showed signs of torture and ill treatment, according to the ship’s crew. The rescue brought the total number of migrants saved to over 200 this week. Italy and Malta have repeatedly refused to allow charity vessels to dock until other EU nations agree to take in the migrants on them. The crew of the German rescue ship “Eleonore”, which is carrying about 100 migrants, has appealed to Malta to help find a quick solution so the ship can enter a safe harbour.,,

Climate change linked to increase in flooding in Europe: A study has demonstrated the impact of a changing climate on the severity of flooding. Flood events are becoming increasingly severe in north-western Europe, including the UK, but decreasing in severity in southern and eastern Europe. In southern Europe, the risk of flooding is falling because climate change is causing precipitation to fall while higher temperatures are drying out soils, meaning they can absorb more water. North England and southern Scotland will be the areas worst affected, with an 11% increase in river flood levels per decade.,

EU Commission: France proposes central banker Goulard as Commission candidate
Agriculture: EU gives farmers aid to ease financial difficulties due to adverse weather conditions
Crisis meeting: Searching for a solution to relieve the Brenner motorway
Hybrid threats: Discussion of hybrid threats in the EU


If Boris Johnson is prepared to do the right thing for the independence of this country, then we would put country before party and do the right thing.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is open to an election pact with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, but only if Johnson pursues a no-deal Brexit.


Italy agrees new government coalition: The Italian Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party (PD) have put aside their differences to form a new government and prevent new elections. The parties have reached a deal to reappoint Giuseppe Conte as prime minister. Conte belongs to neither group but is very close to the Five Star Movement. His role had been a point of contention during negotiations between the parties because some members of the Democratic Party (PD) wanted to let go of all vestiges of the old coalition. PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said the two sides had decided to find common ground for the sake of the country’s stability.,

Trump advisor Bolton stresses Ukraine’s territorial integrity: White House national security advisor John Bolton on Wednesday reiterated the US commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity during talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Bolton praised the talks with Zelensky as productive and underlined the US commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty. Jailed Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was freed from custody in Ukraine on Wednesday after a court ordered his release on bail. (Bolton); (Vyshinsky)

Germany approves aid for coal regions: The cabinet approved a draft bill on Wednesday to provide billions of euros of financial aid to regions impacted by Germany’s coal phase out plans. The laws plans to provide €40 billion of aid over the next two decades to four regions expected to be particularly hit hard by the planned coal phase out to meet the country’s climate goals. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the financial aid would help the regions implement structural change. He expects a separate bill for the coal exit to be submitted in October.

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Norway wealth fund to move more investment to North America: Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, should shift billions in investments from European stock markets and instead invest more in the United States and other North American markets to seek higher returns, the fund’s manager has recommended. If the fund does this, it would mean potentially billions of euros, pounds and other European currencies of investments would shift from Europe to the United States and other North American markets.

Italy: Stromboli volcano eruption sends plumes of ash and smoke into air
France: President Macron makes Russia a top diplomatic priority

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Trump wants to remove protections from Alaska’s national forest: US President Donald Trump has instructed his agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska‘s Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions, according to the “Washington Post”. According to the paper, three unnamed sources said Trump’s request came after a conversation in late June with Alaska’s Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy. The move would affect more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.,,


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