⊂ EUROPE ⊃
No-deal Brexit rehearsal in Britain: An exercise to test plans for border disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit took place in Kent on Monday. A convoy of 89 lorries took part in two test runs from the disused Manston Airport, near Ramsgate in Kent, on a 20-mile route to the Port of Dover. Under contingency plans, Manston airport will be used as a parking facility for lorries. The trial was intended to maintain traffic flow on the M20 and prevent the kind of disruption experienced in 2015 when parts of the motorway were closed to cars for several days. After the first dry run drivers said while it was good the government was doing something the exercise was so small it was pointless. Over 200 British MPs have signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May warning her that they will never accept a no-deal Brexit, as the prime minister struggles to win support for her Brexit deal. MPs will vote on May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, 15 January, government sources have confirmed. British and European officials are discussing the possibility of extending Britain’s formal notice to withdraw from the EU amid fears a Brexit deal will not be approved by end of March, “The Daily Telegraph” reported, citing unidentified sources.
theguardian.com, bbc.com (Trial), theguardian.com (Letter), bbc.com (Vote), reuters.com (Extension)
Rift over fate of people stuck on rescue ships: The situation on two German refugee rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea continues to deteriorate. The EU Commission said it was working continuously to find a solution so that people could quickly leave the ships. Both Italy and Malta have already refused to allow the rescue ships to dock. Nine EU countries have agreed to accommodate the migrants, according to the news agency dpa. However, these commitments were not enough to distribute the all of the refugees aboard the two ships. The Greek Coast Guard has rescued 44 migrants in the eastern Aegean Sea.
spiegel.de, euronews.com, handelsblatt.com (Aegean)
Financial aid for 1.5 million people: The Emergency Social Safety Net, the EU’s largest humanitarian program, has assisted 1.5 million vulnerable refugees in Turkey. The program, which was established in 2016 and is implemented by the World Food Program and the Turkish Red Crescent, provides refugees in Turkey with monthly cash transfers of up to €20 per person to help them pay for food, healthcare and housing. Under the Emergency Social Safety Net, which represents the largest single humanitarian project in the EU’s history, refugees are also given quarterly top-ups to meet their basic needs.
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France to advocate multilateralism to address inequality at G7: Fighting inequality and global warming will be key objectives of the French G7 presidency in 2019. The aim of developing closer relations with Africa, in the interests of multilateralism, will also be highlighted by France. The French President reaffirmed this commitment almost a year ago at a conference in Dakar for the Global Partnership for Education. This undertaking aims to promote schooling in 65 developing countries, the majority of which are African. There is a willingness to strengthen links with the southern Mediterranean countries to support peace and the fight against global warming, in a region of the world that suffers severely from its consequences.
Cecilia Malmström: EU Commissioner travels to US for trade talks de.reuters.com
Arrest of sailors: Ukraine sues before the European Court of Human Rights orf.at
Jim Yong Kim: World Bank president to resign cnbc.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France plans tougher laws to counter “yellow vest” protests: France plans to introduce tough legislation to ban unauthorized demonstrations and sanction rioters in response to violent “yellow vest” protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced. The government will update the law in order to sanction those who do not respect the obligation to declare protests, those who take part in undeclared protests, and those who arrive at protests with balaclavas. In response to destruction of businesses and property in riots, the troublemakers, and not taxpayers would be responsible to pay for damages, Philippe said. Some measures being considered would resemble those used to keep hooligans out of football stadiums. Separately on Monday, the protesters drew support from Italy’s populist government when Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on his party’s blog: “Yellow vests, do not weaken!” He urged the protestors to continue and offered his party’s support if needed.
dw.com, bloomberg.com, politico.eu
France marks four years since “Charlie Hebdo” attack: French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and victims’ relatives on Monday marked the fourth anniversary of the attacks on satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”. Two French jihadists linked to al-Qaeda killed 11 people at the magazine’s offices in 2015. In 2006, the magazine printed controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a Tweet that those who had been vilely attacked at “Charlie Hebdo” were fighting for freedom of expression and thus the Republic.
Denmark plans its own “Silicon Valley” on artificial islands: The Danish government revealed plans on Monday to build nine artificial islands by 2040 to house a new industrial zone off the southern coast of Copenhagen. The aim is to attract about 380 companies to the area, which is located near Copenhagen airport. The islands are designed to bolster the capital’s attractiveness in the eyes of international businesses and could result in the creation of some 12,000 jobs, Interior Minister Simon Emil Ammitzboell-Bille said. The project, which still requires parliamentary approval, would alleviate a shortage of land in the Danish capital. Authorities have expanded the Copenhagen’s border multiple times in recent decades by creating artificial islands.
Raid in probe of German data hack: German police has questioned witnesses and searched properties as part of an investigation into a massive data breach affecting hundreds of German politicians. Germany’s BKA investigative police officers on Sunday searched a teenager’s living quarters and household garbage and confiscated technical equipment at his residence in Heilbronn. He is being treated as a witness in the case. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer met with the BKA and the BSI later on Monday, not least to discuss contradictory information from the BSI on precisely when it became aware of the case, with an early warning in December mistakenly written off as a one-off.
Latvia: President Vejonis nominates MEP Karins as prime minister politico.eu
France: Far right picks 23-year-old to lead EU election campaign politico.eu
Germany: Government investigates disappeared German citizens in Egypt dw.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
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politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Boxer clashed with riot police in Paris: A former professional boxer who was filmed at the weekend punching a police officer on a bridge in Paris during a “yellow vest” protest has been detained by police in France. The man was identified by French media as Christophe Dettinger, a former heavyweight professional boxer who reportedly works for the local government in the Essonne area south of Paris. French media showed the images of the heavily built man delivering several punches on a policeman, who then fell to the ground and was kicked by protesters wearing yellow vests. France’s boxing federation issued a statement condemning the act, saying that it ran completely contrary to the values of the sport.