Wednesday, 14 August 2019: No-deal Brexit would be betrayal, says Hammond, Iran says Britain might release oil tanker soon, British diplomats to pull out from EU meetings, Italian senate delays no-confidence vote in Conte


No-deal Brexit would be betrayal, says Hammond: Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of trying to wreck the chance of a new Brexit deal by making demands the EU could never accept. In a “Times” article, Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. He said the parliament would make its voice heard. The former chancellor is leading a group of 20 Tories, including seven former cabinet ministers, who have written to Johnson accusing him of setting the bar too high in negotiations with the EU to have a hope of getting changes to a deal.,

Johnson says most important trade deal is with EU: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the most important free trade deal that Britain needed to strike was with the EU. On Monday, US national security adviser John Bolton had said the United States would enthusiastically support a no-deal Brexit and would seek to work quickly on a trade deal. Brokering a transatlantic trade deal won’t be easy but can be done, Johnson said Tuesday. He said Americans were tough negotiators, but a great deal could be done to open up opportunities for businesses, particularly services companies in the US.,

Alex Salmond receives £500,000 in costs after flawed inquiry: The Scottish government has paid Alex Salmond more than £512,000 to cover his legal costs after he won a bitterly contested court battle over its sexual misconduct investigation. The government admitted breaching its own guidelines after the former first minister challenged how allegations against him were handled. A spokesman for the Scottish government confirmed that a final settlement of £512,250 had been paid out for legal costs arising from the judicial review case.,

Brexit: Speaker Bercow says he will stop Johnson from closing parliament to secure Brexit
Hong Kong: UK should give British nationality to Hong Kong citizens, Tory MP Tugendhat says
Labour: Chris Williamson sues Labour over his suspension from party
Facial recognition: London mayor Khan writes to King’s Cross owner over facial recognition


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Iran says Britain might release oil tanker soon: The British and Gibraltar authorities will soon release an Iranian oil tanker that has been held for more than a month, an Iranian official said Tuesday. The commandeering of the tanker in July exacerbated frictions between Iran and the West and led to retaliatory moves in Gulf waterways used to ship oil. Officials in Gibraltar and London would not confirm or deny the Iranian claim about the impending release of the tanker. Iran has denied the vessel was doing anything improper and in retaliation Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps troops seized the British-flagged “Stena Impero” tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations. Meanwhile, Iran has increased its production of enriched uranium., (Tanker); (Uranium)

British diplomats to pull out from EU meetings: The UK will stop attending day-to-day meetings that inform EU decision-making. British diplomats will pull out from the EU’s institutional structures in Brussels within days, under plans being drawn up by Downing Street. The move is said by UK officials to be in line with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first statement in the House of Commons, in which he said he would unshackle British diplomacy from EU affairs. It is unclear how far the UK’s withdrawal from the EU structures would go before 31 October, and whether ministers or the UK’s permanent representative in the EU would ultimately fail to show up for meetings in September and October. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is still expected to meet with his EU counterparts in Helsinki towards the end of August.,

German bankers against Brexit concessions: Germany’s financial sector expects that the UK will leave the EU without an exit agreement, according to a recent survey by Frankfurt University’s Centre for Financial Studies (CFS). The majority of German bankers no longer believe that the EU should make further concessions to the UK to prevent a no-deal Brexit. 86% of senior executives in the German financial sector now expect a UK exit from the EU without an agreement. Only 14% believe that a no-deal Brexit can be averted. 63% of bankers assume that Germany’s financial sector is sufficiently prepared for a no-deal Brexit.,

United States delay China tariffs: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unexpectedly put off new tariffs on certain Chinese consumer goods until after the start of the Christmas shopping season. The United States Trade Representative office said the delay affects electronics including cellphones, laptops and video game consoles and some clothing products and shoes and certain toys, while other products are being removed from the tariff list altogether. The stock market soared after the announcement. A new report by the Munich-based ifo Institute has shown that the latest round of US tariffs on Chinese goods set to kick in on 1 September would also benefit the European economies, albeit moderately. The economists said the gains would only multiply if China retaliates with further tariffs on US imports., (Tariffs); (Ifo report)

Sea rescue: Italy’s hard line causes migrants to choose other routes
Mediterranean: More than 500 rescued migrants on two NGO ships remain stranded
Economy: Europe drifts apart economically – Eastern Europe shows positive trend
Free trade agreement: Australia optimistic over potential of EU trade deal


I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed.
US President Donald Trump showed concern Tuesday over clashes between riot police and protesters in the Hong Kong airport.


Italian senate delays no-confidence vote in Conte: Italy’s Senate on Tuesday rejected a call by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for a quick no-confidence vote, deciding instead that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would address the government crisis on 20 August. Last week, Salvini pulled the plug on his coalition government with the Five Star Movement and called the vote of no-confidence in Conte, who is not a member of either party. Salvini hopes there will be a new election as early as this autumn – as he tries to capitalise on the League’s rising popularity. Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has warned that snap elections would be a disaster and sink Italy into a recession.,,

Austrian prosecutors target former Vice Chancellor Strache: The former vice chancellor of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, had his home raided in a corruption probe. The raid was not related to the “Ibizagate” scandal, in which the Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader was secretly filmed on the Spanish island offering government contracts to a fake Russian investor. The probe centres on the appointment of Freedom Party’s Peter Sidlo to the management board of Casinos Austria AG, a lottery and casino operator in which the Austrian government and Novomatic own stakes, a Casinos Austria spokesman said. Prosecutors are looking into whether the company appointment was made in return for the promise of granting gambling licenses.,

Denmark apologises to children abused during post-WWII era: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen issued an official apology on Tuesday to victims who suffered abuse in care homes during the country’s post-World War II period. At a ceremony at Frederiksen’s residence in Marieborg, she apologised to the victims on behalf of Denmark for what she described as one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history. Children at care homes between 1946 and 1976 had suffered years of abuse including beatings and neglect. Soon after taking office in June, Frederiksen had signalled she would address demands for an apology.

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Greece battles wildfire on Evia island: Hundreds of people were evacuated from villages on the Greek island of Evia on Tuesday, as flames from a wildfire moved closer to their homes. More than 120 firemen, aided by helicopters and other aircraft, battled the fire on Evia. It generated thick smoke that blanketed the capital Athens. A second forest fire is burning on the northern island of Thassos, while firefighters are also battling a third blaze near Thebes.,

Germany: Chancellor Merkel calls for CO2 pricing to help with climate goals

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Activists block train outside VW car plant: Environmental activists chained themselves to tracks to stop a train transporting cars from a Volkswagen plant in northern Germany. The activists’ demands include car-free town centres and climate-friendly public transport. The protesters accused the German government of having failed in its policies to protect the environment.


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