Wednesday, 28 August 2019: Javid signalls government austerity may not be over, British opposition parties agree strategy to block no-deal Brexit, Italy and Malta ban rescue ship from entering their waters, Bolsonaro will only accept aid if Macron apologises


Javid signalls government austerity may not be over: New British finance minister Sajid Javid warned government departments they shouldn’t expect blank checks when he announces the result of his spending round next week. On Tuesday, Javid will announce an increase in public spending on health, education and the police, but he will stick with the budget rules drawn up by his predecessor. Ministerial sources said bringing forward the spending review was intended to provide certainty ahead of Brexit, which the government has promised will happen on 31 October. Earlier, the government cancelled what would have been been Javid’s first major speech this Wednesday, a decision described by Labour as a panic move.,,

Ireland says UK proposals don’t replace backstop: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Tuesday that measures proposed by Britain to replace the backstop in its EU withdrawal agreement do not yet come close to what is needed. Ireland is, however, open to further suggestions and wants to find a deal, said Coveney, whose country is seen as the EU member with the most to lose if Britain leaves without a deal. An infrastructure resilience call for English ports is expected to be announced by the Department for Transport this week. The government is expected to open a £10m Brexit fund for English ports but, with grants limited to £1m per marine gateway. A government advert telling EU citizens what they need to do to stay in the UK after Brexit has been banned. (Coveney); (Ports); (Advert)

Eurovision winner to stand for Brexit Party: The Brexit Party held a rally in Westminster on Tuesday to announce its next wave of candidates for a potential general election. Jay Aston Colquhounis, a former member of Eurovision-winning group “Bucks Fizz”, has been selected as a parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party. She was announced by party leader Nigel Farage on Tuesday as one of 635 approved candidates. In the event of a general election, Colquhounis hopes to become an MP in the London seat of Kensington, currently held by Labour.,

Education policy: Leaked documents reveal Tories’ dramatic plans for schools
Huawei: UK to make 5G decision by autumn


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British opposition parties agree strategy to block no-deal Brexit: Leaders of several opposition groups in the UK met on Tuesday and announced plans to work together to block a no-deal Brexit by passing legislation in the British parliament. They accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of using anti-democratic means to force through a no-deal after he suggested that parliament could be suspended to prevent it stopping a no deal. One possible tactic for the opposition might be to try to pass a law forcing Johnson to delay Britain’s departure from the bloc to prevent a no-deal scenario. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Johnson on Tuesday he would look at any concrete proposals the British prime minister had on the Northern Irish backstop but underlined that the bloc’s support for Ireland was steadfast. EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has reiterated that Britain would still have to honour all its financial obligations made during its EU membership even if a no-deal Brexit occurred., (Opposition); (Juncker); (Moscovici)

Italy and Malta ban rescue ship from entering their waters: The two countries have banned a migrant rescue ship operated by the German charity “Mission Lifeline” from accessing their waters. Though Italy and Malta have the EU ports closest to Libya, the countries have constructed policies to exclude humanitarian ships. The positions have led to numerous standoffs. The German rescue ship took aboard 100 people from a a rubber lifeboat sinking off the Libyan coast on Monday. The charity said the people on the ship were undernourished and dehydrated. Meanwhile, Italy has grounded two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has announced that at least 40 people are estimated to have drowned off the coast of Libya in the latest boat disaster in the Mediterranean., (Ship); (Planes); (Libya)

Bolsonaro will only accept aid if Macron apologises: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday that he will accept the offer of international aid to help fight the Amazon rainforest fires, but only if French President Emmanuel Macron apologises to him. His demand for an apology followed Macron lashing out after a Bolsonaro supporter mocked Macron’s wife in a Facebook post, comparing her to Bolsonaro’s wife and suggesting Macron was jealous. Bolsonaro has also accused Macron of having a colonialist mentality and suggested that Western nations appeared motivated by the resources that the Amazon provides. Macron told reporters on Tuesday that Bolsonaro misinterpreted the intention of the G7 aid pledge. Brazilian Deputy Economy Minister for Foreign Trade Marcos Troyjo said on Tuesday that a proposed agreement between the Mercosur trade bloc and the EU is being revised by lawyers.,,,

Russia violated whistleblower’s human rights: Europe’s top human rights court has condemned Russia for multiple violations in the case of prominent whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. The court found that Magnitsky’s detention under poor conditions amounted to ill-treatment and that Russia had violated his right to life. Besides insufficient medical care and ill treatment, the court said that the length of his detention was unjustified, that he was held in severely overcrowded conditions, and that Russian authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into allegations of mistreatment and and medical negligence. Magnitsky, an auditor who uncovered a fraud scheme by Russian tax officials and was subsequently arrested, had died while in detention.,

Digital tax: EU Competition Commissioner Vestager says EU prepared to act alone on digital tax
Tax fraud: European Council President Tusk faces Polish tax probe
Iran: Rouhani says no talks with Trump until sanctions are scrapped; Iran convicts British-Iranian dual national of spying;


A ‘no-deal’ scenario will only ever be the UK’s decision, not the EU’s.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has reiterated that the UK will be solely to blame if it leaves the EU in a no-deal Brexit.


Italian parties press ahead in bid to form government: Italy’s ruling Five Star Movement and the opposition Democratic Party PD appeared on the verge of a deal to form a new Italian government after the PD indicated it had abandoned a veto on Giuseppe Conte serving another term as prime minister. Conte’s reinstatement, insisted on by Five Star but previously resisted by PD, had been presented as the main stumbling block to a deal between the two traditionally antagonistic parties. President Sergio Mattarella has given the two parties until this Wednesday to form a government, otherwise Italy faces new elections.,

Macron calls for new economic world order: French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a new global economic order, decrying an unprecedented crisis in the market economy. In a speech on Tuesday, Macron warned that pushing Russia farther away was a deep strategic error. Macron said it was time for Europe to reach out to Russia — to keep it in the Western fold, check its global ambitions and avoid being caught in the middle of a new Cold War.,

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Prosecutors raid Deutsche Börse offices: German police raided offices of Germany’s exchange operator Deutsche Börse as part of a broader investigation into a fraudulent share-trading scheme. Deutsche Börse confirmed that offices of its Clearsteam subsidiary were searched. The investigations focus on a practice, known as cum-ex, which involves cross-border trading of company shares around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, with each entitled to a tax rebate.

Germany 1: Left Party urges Germany-wide rent control
Germany 2: Mass cancellations at Munich Airport over stray passenger
Spain: German said to have deliberately sparked three forest fires in Mallorca

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Annual tomato fight in Spain: La Tomatina is an annual, globally-renowned food festival held in the Valencian town of Bunol, which is situated in the east of Spain. As the name suggests, tomatoes feature heavily during this celebration, as thousands take part in a mass tomato-fuelled food fight. Thousands of tourists visit the region to take part in La Tomatina festivities.


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