Tuesday, 23 April 2019: Police release two held over Northern Ireland journalist shooting, Sri Lanka imposes state of emergency after attacks, Greta Thunberg at London climate protest, Merkel invites Zelensky to Berlin


Police release two held over Northern Ireland journalist shooting: Northern Irish police released two men in their late teens who had been arrested in connection with the killing of journalist Lyra McKee during a riot in Derry. In a statement on Sunday announcing the release of the two men, the Police Service of Northern Ireland called on people who were present during the riots Thursday night to provide mobile footage or other valuable information to the police. More than 140 people have already contacted police via the Major Incident Public Portal. Det Supt Jason Murphy said the public response had been massive. Violence had broken out following police searches in the Creggan district of the city, which is also known as Londonderry. McKee was shot dead while she stood close to a police vehicle. Police are treating the shooting as a terrorist incident. Friends of the journalist have staged a protest outside the Derry offices of Saoradh, a republican party that reflects New IRA thinking, underlining continuing revulsion towards the group after her killing.
politico.eu, bbc.com, theguardian.com

Brexiters’ language worsens threats against MPs, says Nicky Morgan: Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has blamed the language used by some Conservative Brexiters of helping to inspire threats against MPs, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares for the return of parliament against a backdrop of renewed plots to depose her. Amid signs that Tory MPs will be no more united on Brexit when the Commons returns on Tuesday than before the Easter recess, Morgan criticised an article by her backbench colleague, William Cash, a leading member of the European Research Group of strongly pro-Brexit Conservatives. He had accused May of having made an abject surrender to the EU, talking also of appeasement and capitulation. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Morgan condemned the article, saying this kind of language was not helpful.

Ukip: MEP candidate Carl Benjamin blamed feminists for rise in misogyny theguardian.com
Coal-free: Britain breaks coal-free power record over Easter weekend bbc.com
Migrants: Dozens rescued while attempting to cross the Channel theguardian.com


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Sri Lanka imposes state of emergency after attacks: Sri Lanka said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on local militants with foreign links, in which 290 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded. The emergency law, which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, will go into effect at midnight on Monday, the president’s office said. Investigators said seven suicide bombers took part in the attacks while a government spokesman said an international network could be involved. The Sri Lankan government has blamed the National Thowfeek Jamaath, a little known Muslim militant group, for the attacks. Police said 24 people had been arrested, all of whom were Sri Lankan, but they gave no more details. President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement the government would seek foreign assistance to track overseas links. Most of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans although government officials said 32 foreigners were killed.
cnbc.com, npr.org

Greta Thunberg at London climate protest: Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday urged hundreds of climate-change protesters in London to never give up their campaign to save the planet. Thunberg, a 16-year-old student, spoke to activists at Marble Arch, one of a number of London landmarks that have been brought to a standstill over seven days of protests. Thunberg inspired a movement of children demonstrating against global warming when she took a stand in front of Stockholm’s Parliament House last August with her “school strike for climate” sign. Demonstrations continued on Monday, with the number of arrests topping 1,000, police tweeted. The demonstrations have caused severe disruption in the capital and are set to continue after “Extinction Rebellion” said it would continue to protest until the government had met its demands.
reuters.com, dw.com

Iran and Pakistan agree to joint border force: Iran and Pakistan will form a joint quick reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced after talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The announcement follows months of tension between the neighbouring countries over attacks on both sides of the frontier. Both countries have accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border. Reflecting an apparent improvement in relations, Rouhani also announced a series of proposals to improve trade. The Trump administration meanwhile announced it will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian oil.
dw.com, reuters.com (Pakistan); cnbc.com (US)

International Monetary Fund: Greece asks eurozone bailout fund for early IMF loan repayment uk.reuters.com
European election campaigning: EU presidential candidate Weber wants worldwide plastics ban politico.eu


If governments make claims about the EU or the Commission which are untrue, then we should respond. I will do this myself in the coming weeks before the election.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed to crack down on fake news in the build up to next month’s European election.


Merkel invites Zelensky to Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on winning the Ukrainian presidential election and invited him to visit Berlin. Since the Revolution of Dignity, relations between Germany and Ukraine had intensified to a gratifying degree, Merkel said, politically as well as economically, socially and culturally. Ukraine’s new president will inherit the EU’s demands for full implementation of the agreement, as well as calls to rein in corruption. European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker echoed Merkel’s sentiments in a joint statement, telling the president-elect that his government could count on the EU’s continued and steadfast support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was too soon to say whether Russia could work with Zelensky in the future.

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Thousands turn out for Easter peace marches across Germany: Germany’s Easter peace marches this year called for an end to exporting arms to crisis areas. The marches, which started on Good Friday and continued through to Monday, were held under the theme “disarm instead of rearm — ban nuclear weapons” and drew thousands of people. The pacifist Network of the German Peace Movement said more than 100 events were held nationwide — an increase from last year’s 80-odd events. Germany’s Easter marches began with a demonstration in Hamburg in 1960. The demonstrations stem from protests against a nuclear weapons research facility in Britain in the 1950s.

North Macedonia: Presidential vote heads for runoff dw.com
Austria: Chancellor slams coalition partners over racist poem politico.eu
Czech Republic: MP hospitalised following alleged racial attack politico.eu


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Women could tip the balance in Spain’s election: Polls show that 60% of undecided voters in Spain are female. The women’s vote could tip the balance in the snap general elections taking place on 28 April. Feminism has become one of the big buzzwords in the electoral campaign. This is the time for younger people to spark major change. There have been real advances on key issues such as gender violence and the pay gap, but historical achievements such as legalised abortion may be affected by the rise in support for the far-right party Vox.


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