Tuesday, May 21st 2019: All far-right ministers leave Austrian government after video scandal, Google cuts ties with Huawei, Ukraine’s new president takes office

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

All far-right ministers leave Austrian government after video scandal: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Monday called on the president to fire Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), triggering an announcement from the FPÖ that it was withdrawing the rest of its ministers in solidarity. The move toward ousting Kickl will have serious consequences for the Austrian government’s ability to rule, as the departure of the FPÖ ministers will leave Kurz without people in key portfolios. Kurz had broken up his party’s governing coalition with the FPÖ and called snap elections amid a scandal caused by the emergence of a video showing now ex-Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPÖ offering lucrative business deals to a woman posing as a Russian oligarch’s niece. It is not known who recorded the video published on Friday. Neither is it clear who set up the meeting.
dw.com, bbc.com

Google cuts ties with Huawei: Google is restricting Huawei’s access to its Android operating system and apps after the US government blacklisted Huawei. It means the Chinese tech firm can no longer license Google’s proprietary Android operating system and other services that it offers. Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android. Google is also limiting access to popular applications like Maps, Gmail and the Google Play store in new handsets made by Huawei. Google said consumers who already own Huawei smartphones will be largely unaffected for now. Washington has placed Huawei on a list of foreign firms deemed to undermine American national security or foreign policy interests. Listed companies are barred from receiving components and software unless the trade is licensed.
cnn.com, cnbc.com, nytimes.com

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Iran increases uranium production: Iran has increased by fourfold the rate of production of low enriched uranium, an official in Natanz nuclear facility was cited as saying by Tasnim news agency on Monday, a week after Iran officially stopped some commitments under an international nuclear accord. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed US President Donald Trump’s „genocidal taunts“ and warned him not to threaten the country. Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham said Monday that he believes Iran is behind recent attacks on pipelines and ships around the Middle East, and warned that Tehran should expect an overwhelming military response if it harms American personnel and interests in the region.
reuters.com (Uranium); bbc.com (Zarif); politico.com (Graham)

More flights at cheaper prices: China and EU sign landmark aviation deals reuters.com
European election: Liberal leader Verhofstadt challenges Italian Interior Minister Salvini to EU debate politico.eu
EU accession: Though not a member, Serbia eyes European election carefully euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

The capabilities that we put on the scales are a contribution so that others know we are serious about defending our territory.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has anounced another increase in defense spending.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Ukraine’s new president takes office: Ukraine now has a new president, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn into office on Monday — and the famous comedian immediately said one of his first actions will be to dissolve parliament. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Zelenskiy announced a snap election to choose new lawmakers. He called on legislators to adopt anti-corruption laws, including measures that would strip legislators of their immunity from prosecution and increase transparency. Zelenskiy urged ministers and government officials to resign if they aren’t willing to work for change. In addition to fighting corruption, Zelenskiy has pledged to end the bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.
npr.org, time.com

Dubious Trump deals cause problems for Deutsche Bank: The German-based Deutsche Bank on Monday denied a report by „The New York Times“ that alleged anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank in 2016 and 2017 recommended multiple transactions involving entities controlled by US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. The article said executives at the bank rejected their employees‘ advice and the reports were never filed with the government. Trump lashed out at „The New York Times“ on Monday, disputing the paper’s reporting on his relationship with Deutsche Bank and launching into a broader criticism of the news media.
dw.com, politico.com, nytimes.com

Italy seizes migrant rescue vessel: Italian prosecutors have impounded the rescue ship „Sea-Watch 3“ for breaching immigration rules despite government attempts to block the ship from reaching an Italian port. The ship rescued 65 migrants off the coast of Libya last week. The remaining migrants disembarked at Lampedusa on Sunday evening as part of the order to seize the ship. The head of the German „Sea-Watch 3“ mission, Philipp Hahn, called the probationary confiscation of the vessel outrageous and said the group broke no laws. The German government warned against the stigmatization and criminalization of maritime rescue services in the Mediterranean Sea, but also called on rescuers to comply with the law.
dw.com, washingtonpost.com

Sweden: Authorities request detention order for WikiLeaks founder Assange politico.com
Catalonia: Five Catalan separatist leaders escorted to Spanish parliament nytimes.com
France: Eiffel Tower closes down after man scales the monument cbsnews.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Farage hit with milkshake while campaigning: British politician Nigel Farage was hit with a milkshake while election campaigning on Monday. The Brexit party leader appeared to be furious after the incident and was heard to mutter, “it’s a complete failure, you could have spotted that a mile off” as his security team led him away. Farage blamed the attack on those who wanted to remain in the EU. The Electoral Commission will visit the offices of Farage’s Brexit Party to review how it receives funding. Ex-PM Gordon Brown has accused the party of receiving a large amount of money via small undeclared, untraceable payments.
time.com, theguardian.com (Milkshake); bbc.com (Funding)

 

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