Tuesday, 08 October 2019: Johnson will speak to Trump if US doesn’t waive immunity for diplomat’s wife, US troops withdraw from Syria ahead of Turkish offensive, German government accused of watering down climate bill, EU questions Facebook about Libra


Johnson will speak to Trump if US doesn’t waive immunity for diplomat’s wife: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the US to reconsider giving immunity to the wife of a diplomat who is a suspect in a fatal road crash in the UK. He will raise the issue with US President Donald Trump if that doesn’t happen. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has already urged the US Embassy to reconsider, raised the case in a conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier. Anne Sacoolas is wanted by police over the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn in Northamptonshire in August. She left the UK despite telling police she had no plans to. Johnson told ITV News he di not think that it could be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose. Both Northamptonshire’s chief constable and police and crime commissioner have already urged the Americans to waive Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.
politico.eu, bbc.com

Final Thomas Cook repatriation flights touch down: The final Thomas Cook holidaymakers to be brought home by the emergency repatriation arrived in Manchester on a flight from Orlando on Monday. The two-week operation returned 150,000 passengers to the UK after the package tour company collapsed last month. However, while the airlift is judged to have been a success, the huge reimbursement programme for those who had booked holidays failed to cope with demand after opening – prompting many customers to take to Twitter and other social media sites to vent their frustration.
bbc.com, theguardian.com

Arcuri says there was no favouritism over Johnson links: US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, who is at the centre of a conflict of interest row involving Prime Minister Boris Johnson, confirmed she had a very close bond with Johnson and refused to rule out claims they had an affair. In her first broadcast interview since her links to Johnson were exposed, Arcuri said the then London mayor visited her flat in Shoreditch, east London, a handful of times but she denied he had given her favours to boost her career.
theguardian.com, bbc.com

Heidi Allen: Former Tory MP joins Liberal Democrats bbc.com
Labour: Concern raised over deselection of female Labour MPs theguardian.com


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US troops withdraw from Syria ahead of Turkish offensive: US troops have started withdrawing from positions in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey, after the Turkish government announced it was planning a military offensive there. The US government said it would not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces will no longer be in the immediate area. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s aim was to combat Kurdish fighters in the border area. The US decision to withdraw troops was criticised by some of President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham calling the move a disaster. He tweeted that he and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland will introduce bipartisan sanctions to call for Turkey to be suspended from Nato if it attacks Kurdish forces. The EU warned against any Turkish operation against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria. A spokeswoman said the EU had from the very beginning said that any sustainable situation will not be reached by military means.
dw.com, politico.eu, cnn.com, bbc.com, reuters.com

German government accused of watering down climate bill: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended planned climate protection measures following accusations that recent changes to the climate bill would weaken its effectiveness. She said the bill her government is due to approve this Wednesday would include a mechanism to monitor compliance with emission limits set for individual sectors. Merkel reiterated that the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 2030 was clearly entrenched in the climate bill and that she wouldn’t allow it to be adopted otherwise. A low Co2 price was designed to gradually convince Germans they must take measures to cut their carbon footprint or else risk paying more taxes. On Monday, hundreds of climate activists were arrested as protests started across the globe, including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Austria, France and New Zealand. Climate protests are expected in some 60 cities over the next two weeks.
dw.com, reuters.com (Merkel); bbc.com (Climate protests)

EU questions Facebook about Libra: The EU Commission has sent a questionnaire to Facebook seeking clarification about the proposed digital currency Libra. European countries have vowed to block Libra’s development, saying it poses a risk to the sovereignty of nations’ currencies. EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has said she is scrutinising Libra because of the risk that it will lead to the creation of a new, entirely separate economy.
cnbc.com, bloomberg.com

Migrant boat capsizes off Lampedusa: The Italian Coast Guard has recovered the bodies of 13 women, some of them pregnant, who died after a crowded migrant boat capsized in heavy weather off the coast of Lampedusa. Rescue vessels picked up 22 survivors near Lampedusa, but coast guard officials feared that many other people might have died.
nytimes.com, bbc.com

Migration policy: EU signs agreement with Montenegro on border management co-operation eureporter.co
FCAS: Arms firms fret over delays in Franco-German fighter project reuters.com
Whistleblower: EU updates whistleblower protection rules neweurope.eu
Traffic: EU strengthens road management policy neweurope.eu
Hong Kong: Police fire tear gas as protesters gather reuters.com


I am never going to be opposed to someone being able to express their opinion and express their voices. But, in blocking people from being able to go and do their day to day job, doesn’t necessarily take us any closer to the climate action that they are calling for.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised the global climate protests.


UK blames EU as Johnson’s Brexit plan fails to make progress: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman has said that the PM was waiting for the EU to engage with Britain’s Brexit plan. Johnson himself has claimed that the EU had not yet explained in detail what its objections to his plan were. He said the UK plans were a big concession, but European leaders had not offered specific criticism of his ideas. A Scottish court on Monday rejected a legal bid to force Johnson to ask for a Brexit delay if he has not struck a deal with the EU in less than two weeks’ time.
theguardian.com, theguardian.com, bbc.com, uk.reuters.com

Dutch ruling coalition loses majority in parliament: The government in the Netherlands has lost its majority in parliament. An MP who had been expelled from Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party said he would sit as an independent. Rutte’s four-party coalition now holds 75 seats in the 150-seat lower house, meaning it will have to find support from opposition parties for legislation to pass. This has effectively already been the case since March, when the coalition lost its majority in the upper house, the Senate.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Minority government in Portugal continues: Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s Socialists came out on top of parliamentary elections held Sunday. The party managed to expand its number of mandates in parliament but fell short of winning an absolute majority. Costa has announced his plan to continue heading a minority government. The Socialists have governed for the past four years with the support of two smaller hard-left parties.
dw.com, theguardian.com

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Spain to hit back against US tariffs: The Spanish government has summoned the US ambassador to Spain, Duke Buchan, to express its opposition to the new tariff increases announced by the Trump Administration. Spain’s acting Secretary of State for the EU, Luis Marco Aguiriano, delivered the message to the US ambassador and asked for urgent negotiations. In case the US rejects the dialogue, the Spanish government will react in defence of Spanish interests by activating all legal measures available in collaboration with the EU Commission and other EU countries.

France: Paris knife attacker had USB drive with information about colleagues reuters.com
Austria: Kurz given task of putting together new government apnews.com
Estonia: New member of EU’s climate-neutral club euractiv.com


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Drug traffickers rescued Spanish police officers in Mediterranean: Spanish police officers were rescued by drug traffickers they were chasing after their boats collided off the coast of Malaga. Three officers fell into the Mediterranean after their boat collided with the vessel they were pursuing. A helicopter of the Malaga Air Unit, which also took part in the operation, demanded that the four people on board the other vessel help out the officers. They were thus rescued and swiftly proceeded to arrest their four rescuers.


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