Wednesday, 25 September 2019: UK Supreme Court rules parliament suspension was illegal, Merkel in favour of Iran sanctions, Trump authorises release of Ukraine call transcript, Google wins case in front of ECJ


UK Supreme Court rules parliament suspension was illegal: Britain’s highest court ruled Tuesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful. Brenda Hale, the court’s most senior judge, said the court was bound to conclude Johnson’s advice to Queen Elizabeth to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. Johnson said he disagreed with the ruling and would forge ahead with his plans to leave the EU. He reiterated his call for a general election, but there were no signs he was any closer to winning the necessary two-thirds approval in parliament to schedule a vote. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the ruling demonstrated a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power by Johnson. He joined others in calling for Johnson to resign. Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said Johnson had again proven he was not fit to be prime minister. Speaker John Bercow announced the House of Commons would resume its business this Wednesday.,,

Varadkar met with Johnson: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday he had held a good meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but they had not reached an agreement on how to resolve their differences over Brexit. Varadkar noted it was the second time they had met in person. While the first meeting in Dublin had been a chance to build relationships, Tuesday’s meeting was a little bit more detailed. A UK government official said the pair spent some time discussing the issue of consent for Northern Ireland in any solution to the contentious issue of dealing with the UK-EU border on the island of Ireland.,

Johnson given two weeks to explain businesswoman links: Prime Minister Johnson has been given fourteen days to give details of his relationship with US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, following claims he failed to declare a potential conflict of interest when he was London mayor. A committee that scrutinises the mayor’s spending has asked for details of all contact with Arcuri. The committee has the legal power to summon Johnson to appear before it for questioning. Johnson has insisted that everything was done in the proper way.

Labour conferences: Labour set to commit to net zero emissions by 2030
Office for National Statistics: Borrowing increased by 28%
National Crime Agency: No evidence of crimes by Leave.EU and Arron Banks


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Merkel in favour of Iran sanctions: German Chancellor Angela Merkel would welcome talks between the United States and Iran, but after speaking to US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, said it was unrealistic to expect the US to lift sanctions on Iran first. Trump slammed Iran’s alleged role in attacks on Saudi oil facilities, telling world leaders at the General Assembly they should pressure Iran into diplomatic talks. He said as long as Iran’s behaviour continued, sanctions would be tightened. French President Emmanuel Macron called for an end to Iran sanctions and urged the US and Iran to resume negotiations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his speech in front of the General Assembly to call for more aid for Syrian refugees. The Venezuelan opposition is planning a series of events on the sidelines of the UN gathering to draw attention to the Venezuelan situation., (Merkel); (Macron); (Erdogan); (Venezuela)

Trump authorises release of Ukraine call transcript: The House of Representatives in the United States is launching a formal impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump. The inquiry marks just the fourth time in American history a president has faced a viable threat of impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday the actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonourable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security and betrayal of the integrity of US elections. Trump had personally ordered his staff to freeze aid to Ukraine in the days before he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump possibly tried to boost his chances of re-election by pressuring another country to probe a leading Democratic challenger. Trump denied the accusations and said Democrats had yet to hear his phone call with Zelensky. He authorised the release of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of the phone call this Wednesday.,,

Google wins case in front of ECJ: Google does not have to apply the right to be forgotten globally, the European Court of Justice ECJ ruled Tuesday. Search engines such as Google face no obligation to delete embarrassing or out-of-date information outside the 28-country EU. The court however said search engines must seriously discourage internet users from going onto non-EU versions of their pages to find that information. This follows an earlier decision on the so-called “right to be forgotten” — a ruling made five years ago that grants European citizens the right to ask search engines to remove sensitive information about them, such as past crimes.,

Facebook buys mind-reading startup: Facebook has acquired neural interface startup CTRL-Labs, which is exploring ways for people to communicate with computers using brain signals. A wristband developed by CTRL-Labs may be the first product to reach consumers, with the device capable of measuring neural activity to translate gestures and motions into computer controls. The size of the deal was between $500 million and $1 billion, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. A Facebook spokesperson said it was lower than $1 billion.,

VW bosses charged with market manipulation: Prosecutors in Braunschweig have brought criminal charges of stock market manipulation against current Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess, Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn. There is evidence the accused intentionally failed to inform investors in time about the potential financial impact of the Dieselgate affair. The defendants had always claimed they only learned about the scam in September 2015 when the scandal became officially known with the help of US environmental regulators and agencies.

EU General Court: Vestager loses Starbucks tax case, wins Fiat
Bolivia: EU support to tackle wildfires
Poland: EU court top lawyer sides with Poland on judicial independence


Boris Johnson has been found to have misled the country. This unelected prime minister should now resign.
UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation after the Supreme Court declared Johnson’s decision to shut down parliament was illegal.


Germany offers Thomas Cook’s Condor bridging loan: The German government will guarantee a bridging loan for German airline Condor, which is owned by insolvent British travel operator Thomas Cook. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the aid was subject to EU approval. Deputy economy minister Ulrich Nussbaum said Condor could become a healthy company and an investor could be found so that the state would get its money back. Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s bosses will face scrutiny as part of an investigation into the tour operator’s collapse. There is also criticism of executive salaries at the firm. In Greece, where tourism accounts for 27% of GDP, the economic losses from Thomas Cook’s insolvency are estimated to reach between 250 and 500 million euros. The company’s collapse could also put the new EU Package Travel Directive to the test. Although the directive allows for the return of travellers, refunds for trips already booked are not guaranteed. (Condor); (Thomas Cook bosses);, (Greece) (EU directive)

Spanish court approves exhumation of dictator Franco: The Supreme Court in Spain on Tuesday approved the government’s plan to exhume dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975). The family of Franco had sought to block the exhumation and said that if the remains must be removed, they should be reinterred at the Almudena Roman Catholic Cathedral adjacent to the Royal Palace in central Madrid, alongside his daughter. A group that represents victims of Franco’s dictatorship warned that the remains should not be moved to Almudena, or else it risked the cathedral becoming a place of pilgrimage and glorification of Franco.,

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Protest against pension reform in France: Thousands of French people protested against the government’s planned pension reform on Tuesday. In the harbour town of Marseille, 3,700 people answered the CGT union’s call to protest. Meanwhile, trains were disrupted and dozens of demonstrations were held across France on Tuesday as unions called a strike over the planned overhaul of the country’s retirement system. (Protest); (Strike)

France: Debate about law to let lesbians and single women have access to in vitro fertilisation

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European election turnout driven by young people: The high turnout in the 2019 European election was driven by a surge in participation by young people, a survey has found. Overall turnout at European elections was 50.6% – the highest since 1994. Especially young citizens under the age of 25 (+14 percentage points) as well as 25 to 39 year-olds (+12 percentage points) turned out in greater numbers than before.


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