Wednesday, 17 April 2019: Dozens arrested in Extinction Rebellion climate change protest, EU to better protect whistleblowers, US democrats subpoena Deutsche Bank over Trump’s finances, Macron hopes to rebuild Notre-Dame in five years


Dozens arrested in Extinction Rebellion climate change protest: Police made 29 arrests as about 300 climate change protesters blocked one of the main roads into Edinburgh’s city centre. Supporters of “Extinction Rebellion Scotland” targeted North Bridge as part of the international protests, which have taken place in a number of cities. Police Scotland later tweeted that 29 people were arrested for breach of the peace. Protest organisers said they wanted to disrupt “business as usual” and highlight the climate and ecological catastrophe unfolding across the globe. The Metropolitan Police said 500,000 people had been affected by the diversion of bus routes.

Labour Party denies that Brexit talks stalled: The Labour Party has denied a “Guardian” report that Brexit talks with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government had stalled. The newspaper had said talks had stalled due to a Conservative desire for post-Brexit deregulation including pursuing a US trade deal. According to the “Guardian”, Corbyn said Labour had been putting forward a robust case for a customs union during the talks over the past week but suggested he feared the two sides would not find common ground. A Labour spokesman said it was wrong to say talks had stalled and that further meetings were planned for this week and next.,

Change UK party approved for European elections: The Electoral Commission has approved The Independent Group’s application to register as a political party, allowing the centrist movement founded by former Labour and Tory MPs to field candidates for the European elections. The group, led by the former Conservative Heidi Allen, has received more than 3,700 expressions of interest in being a candidate in the elections and is polling about 4-7% for the contest. Two former Conservative MEPs, Julie Girling and Richard Ashworth, confirmed they were joining Change UK and hope to stand as candidates in the European elections. The party will announce its MEP candidates at a launch event next week and has set up a European elections fighting fund to solicit donations.,

Labour: MP Richard Burgon says he regrets Zionism remarks
Education: Labour pledges to scrap primary Sats if elected
Conservatives: Amber Rudd says she is not ruling out Tory leadership bid
Business: Unemployment across UK shows slight fall


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EU to better protect whistleblowers: The European Parliament has approved new rules for improving the protection of whistleblowers. The rules lay down new, EU-wide standards to protect whistleblowers revealing breaches of EU law in a wide range of areas including public procurement, financial services, money laundering, product and transport safety, nuclear safety, public health, consumer and data protection. To ensure potential whistleblowers remain safe and that the information disclosed remains confidential, the new rules allow them to disclose information either internally to the legal entity concerned or directly to competent national authorities, as well as to relevant EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. The measures also ensure that people reporting breaches are protected from retaliation, such as dismissal or demotion. Those assisting whistleblowers, such as colleagues or relatives, are also protected. German MEP Axel Voss said the rules were Europe’s response to the murders of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia from Malta and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak. They both researched the misappropriation of EU funds.,,

US democrats subpoena Deutsche Bank over Trump’s finances: Deutsche Bank and several other banking institutions were subpoenaed on Monday by two US House of Representatives committees investigating President Donald Trump’s finances. Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters said the use of the financial system for potentially illicit purposes was a serious matter and the investigation was necessary under the committee’s oversight authority. Deutsche Bank has been one of the few major banks to lend to Trump and his family-owned organisation, following several defaults and bankruptcies by the real-estate mogul. The German bank stopped lending to Trump after he became president in 2017. Several institutions were issued subpoenas, but intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff specifically noted Deutsche Bank’s continued cooperation and compliance, calling theirs a friendly subpoena. Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh said the bank was engaged in a productive dialogue with the two committees.,

Mediterranean mission “Sophia”: EU foreign policy chief Mogherini wants refugee rescue ships to return to the Mediterranean Sea
Workers in the gig economy: EU lawmakers okay minimum rights for gig economy workers
Climate protests: Greta Thunberg urges EU to take action in speech to EU Parliament
Study: More women for the ECB


Brexit is not the future of the EU. The future of the union will go well beyond Brexit.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that Brexit should not be allowed to overshadow other issues.


Macron hopes to rebuild Notre-Dame in five years: French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Tuesday that France would rebuild the fire-devastated Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, saying he hoped the work would be done in five years and the French people would pull together to repair their national symbol. Macron devoted a prime-time televised address to Monday’s fire in Paris, again postponing planned remarks on his response to months of anti-government “Yellow Vest” protests. France’s main parties are also suspending their European Parliament election campaign because of the fire.,

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German regulator suspects manipulation of Wirecard stock: Germany’s markets regulator Bafin announced on Tuesday it had filed a complaint alleging market manipulation in the shares of Wirecard, a payments company whose shares slumped after a report in the “Financial Times” (FT) alleged financial wrongdoing. The complaint, filed to the Munich Prosecutor’s Office, concerned around a dozen people it suspects of market manipulation in a short-selling attack. A series of reports run by the FT, citing a whistleblower’s claims of fraud and creative accounting at its Singapore office, wiped $10 billion off Wirecard’s market value and triggered a police investigation in the Asian state. German newspaper “Spiegel” cited Bafin sources saying the suspicion of market manipulation did not relate to whether the FT’s reporting was truthful or not. Instead, its concerns centred on whether so-called short sellers – speculators who seek to profit from share-price declines – were tipped off about the FT’s reporting ahead of publication.

France: Macron to propose abolition of elite Ena government school
Estonia: President turns to Ratas to form government
Italy: Competition watchdog opens probe into Amazon

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Germany’s AfD hit with hefty fine: The German parliament has imposed a hefty fine on the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) over illegal campaign donations from a Swiss-based company. Parliament informed the AfD that it had to pay a €402,900 fine, following the parliament’s verdict that free advertising received by two of the party’s candidates constituted illegal party donations, according to German public broadcasters and news agencies. The AfD said it would appeal against the fine. The Swiss campaign donations are only one part of a larger donations scandal engulfing the AfD, which could face further fines.


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