Wednesday, 15 August 2018: Record drop in EU nationals working in UK, Malta lets rescue ship dock after EU states agree to take migrants, Risk of no-deal Brexit rising, Hunt warns, Car hits pedestrians at UK parliament in suspected terrorist attack


Record drop in EU nationals working in UK: The UK reported its lowest unemployment rate in 43 years on Tuesday, but also a record drop in the number of EU nationals working in the country. Between April and June this year, unemployment dipped to 4 percent, which was the lowest level since between December 1974 and February 1975, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics. The number of EU nationals employed in the country, meanwhile, fell by 86,000 to 2.28 million people, the largest annual decrease since the ONS began keeping such records in 1997. Matthew Percival, the head of employment for the Confederation of British Industry, told the “Times” that the government must preserve the working eligibility of EU nationals after Brexit.

Rail unions are to blame for fare hikes, Grayling suggests: The transport secretary has opened the way for smaller annual rail fare increases by suggesting they could be pegged to a lower measure of inflation – but only if unions accept the same measure for staff pay. Rail unions are to blame for fare rises of as much as £200 on some of Britain’s busiest services, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has suggested. Grayling wants to pin fare rises to the lower rate of CPI, which currently stands at 2.3 per cent. However the rail unions are refusing to use the lower level of inflation to set pay rises for staff. Grayling made the suggestion in a letter to unions and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the industry body representing train operators and Network Rail. It came a day before the announcement of what was expected to be another round of high annual fare rises.,

Gordon Brown to attack Britain’s failure to tackle child poverty: The former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown will launch a scathing attack on the failure to deal with rapidly rising child poverty on Wednesday and warn that Britain is creating a generation of children whose sufferings are never talked about. Speaking at the Edinburgh international book festival, Brown will say it is a national disgrace that the number of children living below the poverty line is set to rise to more than five million by the early 2020s.

Controversial weedkiller: Environment minister Therese Coffey defends Roundup weedkiller tweet
Government proposals on social housing: Proposals ‘to give tenants greater power’
Islamophobia: Classical scholars turn backs on Boris Johnson over burqa comments
Official figures: UK will have 9 million more pensioners in 50 years


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Malta lets rescue ship dock after EU states agree to take migrants: Malta said on Tuesday it would allow the Mediterranean rescue ship “Aquarius”, which has been barred for four days from several coastal states, to dock after five EU countries agreed to take in the 141 migrants on board. The migrants rescued off the coast of Libya together with some others who arrived in Malta separately will be distributed among France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain, according to Spanish deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo, who said the final number of people involved came to 255. “Aquarius” rescued the asylum seekers, most of whom are from Eritrea and Somalia, from Libyan waters. European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed the need for a solution to the problem of who takes in such ships. Avramopoulos welcomed the decision of the Maltese government and praised France, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg for their solidarity. But he added: “We cannot rely on ad-hoc arrangements, we need sustainable solutions”.,,

Risk of no-deal Brexit rising, Hunt warns: The risk of a no-deal Brexit has been increasing and the EU Commission needs to change its attitude if a deal is to be reached, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday. With less than eight months until Britain quits the EU, the government has yet to agree a divorce deal with Brussels and has stepped up planning for the possibility of leaving the bloc without any formal agreement. Speaking to reporters in Helsinki after meeting his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini, Hunt warned that everyone needed to prepare for the possibility of a chaotic no-deal Brexit. As part of a three-day diplomacy tour around northern Europe to sell the UK’s Brexit offer, agreed among ministers last month, Hunt will also meet his Latvian, Danish and Dutch counterparts.,

Brussels advances fight against Poland over Supreme Court law: The EU Commission on Tuesday moved a step closer to asking the European Court of Justice to penalise Poland over a law that could force the early retirement of Supreme Court judges. The Commission has been battling Poland over rule-of-law concerns on several fronts for more than two years, with Warsaw refusing to reverse a series of legislative changes that the Commission says have undermined the independence and integrity of the country’s judicial system. The EU executive sent Poland a “reasoned opinion” – the next step on the escalation ladder of the so-called infringement procedure, which the Commission opened last month. The new law on Poland’s Supreme Court lowers the retirement age of judges to 65 from 70, and puts 27 out of 72 sitting judges at risk of forced retirement.,

Trump signs defence policy bill: US President Donald Trump signed a 716 billion dollar defence policy bill on Monday that authorises military spending and includes watered-down controls on US government contracts with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The bill also directs the Secretary of Defence to study whether Turkey’s planned deployment of the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system will risk the security of several US-made weapons used by Turkey, including the F-35 jet. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has said Turkey will boycott US electronic goods, including Apple’s flagship iPhone device. Erdogan maintained an assertive stance in a speech Tuesday and claimed he had been taking necessary measures to arrest the recent slide in Turkish assets. As Turkey’s economy and relations with the US continue to worsen, there is growing concern in the West that Erdogan will turn to Russia for support.,,

Creditors admit mistakes: Greece bailout ends
Second quarter: Eurozone growth better than expected


I am really surprised. My question for these people is ‘what the hell are you up to?’
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has criticised vandalism in Sweden.


Car hits pedestrians at UK parliament in suspected terrorist attack: A man deliberately drove a car into London pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday before ramming it into barriers outside Britain’s parliament in what police said appeared to be the second terrorist attack at the building in just under 18 months. Three people were injured. Two people were treated in hospital for their injuries but later discharged, athird person with minor injuries was assessed at the scene. Witnesses told television stations that the episode seemed deliberate; the car was traveling too fast, they said, and did not try to avoid striking people or the security barrier. About a dozen armed police officers swarmed a silver Ford Fiesta and pointed their weapons at it, before handcuffing the driver, who was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences. No-one else was in the car when it crashed and no weapons were found in it. The suspect was not cooperating with detectives, the British police counter-terrorism chief said.,,

Corbyn criticised by Netanyahu over wreath-laying ceremony: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken the unusual step of criticising a UK opposition politician after pictures emerged showing the Labour Party leader at a 2014 wreath-laying ceremony for terrorists who killed Israeli athletes in the 1970s. Netanyahu said Corbyn deserved “unequivocal condemnation” for laying a wreath on the grave of one of those behind the atrocity. Corbyn said Netanyahu’s claims about his actions were false. The Labour leader said he had attended the event in Tunis in 2014 as part of a wider event about the search for peace. He hit back at the Israeli prime minister, accusing his government of discriminating against Israel’s Palestinian minority.,

Iranian holiday costs Norway minister his job: Norway’s fisheries minister Per Sandberg has resigned after taking his government-issued phone on an unapproved trip to Iran with his girlfriend. Sandberg also quit as deputy leader the anti-immigration Progress Party, which governs in coalitions with the country’s Conservatives. He took a holiday to Iran with Bahaeh Letnes, 28, a former beauty queen who was born in the Islamic Republic but gained residency in Norway a decade ago and runs a fish export business. He later admitted breaching protocol by taking his official mobile phone and failing to inform the prime minister of his destination and was rebuked by Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

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Merkel attends citizens’ dialogue: A planned budget for the eurozone could be integrated into the broader spending funds of the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding she sees no immediate need for a finance minister for the currency bloc. While Merkel held up European integration as key to standing up to rivals including China, she rejected calls for a euro-area finance minister in the absence of a joint budget. A proposed euro-area budget would preferably be handled as part of the European Union’s financial planning, she said. Asked by an audience member about Brexit risks to Europe, Merkel said she prefers a “contractual solution” and hopes a disorderly UK departure from the EU can be avoided. Speaking to residents of the eastern city of Jena during a “town hall” meeting, Merkel repeated her support for an agreement reached with France in June to boost investments and strengthen economic convergence in the eurozone.,

Romania to probe alleged police violence at protest: Romania has opened an enquiry into alleged police violence at a mass anti-corruption protest against the leftwing government last week where hundreds were injured. Around 80,000 people demonstrated last Friday in Bucharest, accusing the government of corruption and urging it to resign. Several journalists, including one cameraman from Austrian public broadcaster ORF, were assaulted while covering the protest. Israeli tourists were also beaten by police, according to Israeli officials. DW on Monday lodged an official complaint to Romanian authorities for police brutality committed against correspondent Cristian Stefanescu. DW said there is “sufficient proof” from video and eyewitness accounts that police deliberately attacked journalists during mass anti-corruption protests on Friday.,

Italy: 5Stars under fire after Genoa bridge collapse
Greece: Freed in Turkey before spy trial, Greek soldiers await flight home
Tensions: Kosovo president says wants to “correct” border with Serbia
African swine flu: Denmark to build controversial German border fence

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Families sue EU over climate change: The European Court has accepted a case filed against European institutions by ten families from various European countries and others, who consider not enough has been done to counteract climate change. The court case was launched in May by families from various parts of the world and the Saminuorra Youth Association (Sweden), based on the argument that the EU is not doing everything within its powers to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens regarding the adverse effects of climate change.,


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