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  • US troops in Syria heading to Iraq, not home as Trump claims

    Golocal247.com news

    While President Donald Trump insists he's bringing home Americans from "endless wars" in the Mideast, his Pentagon chief says all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the American military will continue operations against the Islamic State group. The fight in Syria against IS, once spearheaded by American allied Syrian Kurds who have been cast aside by Trump, will be undertaken by U.S. forces, possibly from neighboring Iraq.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:55:30 -0400
  • Johnson Seeks Parliament Vote on Divorce Deal: Brexit Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson will try again to put his Brexit deal to a vote in Parliament in a bid to show the European Union he has the numbers to get the divorce agreement ratified. But that puts him on a potential collision course with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who could decide not to allow a vote because MPs already considered the issue on Saturday.Regardless, the government will introduce the detailed legislation needed to deliver his Brexit agreement on Monday, and plans to fast-track the law through both houses of Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline.Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens NextKey Developments:House of Commons sits from 2:30 p.m., with Speaker John Bercow to decide whether to allow a vote on Johnson’s Brexit dealMinisters said Sunday the government has enough support in Parliament to get Johnson’s Brexit deal ratifiedDUP’s Jim Shannon says the party won’t back an amendment to the deal to keep the U.K. in a customs union with the EU, after Labour said it is seeking support for such a moveGovernment says it will introduce Brexit bill on MondayPound rises above $1.30 for the first time since May on speculation Johnson will win MPs’ backing for his Brexit deal this weekGovernment to Introduce Brexit Bill (10:15 a.m.)The U.K. government confirmed it will introduce its Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the crucial piece of law that will incorporate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal into British statute, on Monday.“MPs and peers will today have in front of them a bill that will get Brexit done by October 31, protect jobs and the integrity of the U.K., and enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime,” Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said in an emailed statement. “If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”DUP Will Not Support Customs Union: Shannon (9:30 a.m.)Democratic Unionist Party MP Jim Shannon told Sky News his party is “meeting shortly” to discuss issues including potential amendments to the government’s Brexit legislation, but ruled out backing any move to keep the U.K. in the European Union’s customs union.“We are clear where we stand on the customs union, that’s something that the cannot support and will not support,” Shannon said.The comments come after the main opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said his party would back amendments on a second referendum and a customs union, and made a direct appeal to the DUP to rethink their opposition to the latter. Getting an amendment through the House of Commons would likely require the DUP’s votes.Baker: Will Compromise to Get U.K. Out of EU (Earlier)Steve Baker, chairman of the Conservative Party’s European Research Group pro-Brexit caucus, told BBC Radio on Monday his colleagues are prepared to compromise to get the U.K. out of the European Union on Oct. 31.His advice to the group is “that we should number one back the deal, number two vote for the legislation all the way through unless it was wrecked by opponents,” Baker said, though he notably did not rule out accepting a deal that keeps the U.K. in the EU’s customs union.“For people like me, vast areas of that Withdrawal Agreement are unchanged and we are going to have to choke down our pride and vote in the national interest to get Brexit done,” he said.Earlier:Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens NextJohnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the VotesU.K. Starts ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Preparations as EU Poised to DelayTo contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Andrew AtkinsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:54:15 -0400
  • Trump is recreating America's Syria dilemma — in Saudi Arabia

    Going to war in "the Middle East is the worst decision ever made in the history of our country!" President Trump tweeted last week. "Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home."But are we? Just two days later, the Pentagon announced 1,800 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to "assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia," which, "with other deployments ... constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month." That's a major new commitment to Riyadh's security, and it brings the total new deployments in the region since May to 14,000. Meanwhile, even more American forces, including warships currently sailing the Pacific, may move to protect Saudi Arabia soon.The discrepancy between Trump's statements and his policies is conspicuous. While he regularly speaks of ending endless wars, the president so far has done little to meaningfully apply his critique to U.S. foreign policy. But that inconsistency isn't the only problem here: Sending these troops to Saudi Arabia also sets up a new version of the dilemma we just faced with the Kurds in Syria. In each case, deployment comes with a strong suggestion that we'd fight for the partner in question. Would we really fight for Saudi Arabia?The United States' 18-year entanglement in the Middle East is demonstrably a costly and dangerous debacle. Nation building is no task for the American military and largely has been an exercise in futility. U.S. troop totals in the Middle East should be decreasing, not increasing.Trump has said all of this, but none of these insights are reflected in his strategy. Instead, his administration is further entrenching U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia's regional and religious rivalry with Iran. The goal of this new deployment is to "send the message to the Iranians, do not strike another sovereign state, do not threaten American forces," said Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley. Esper likewise characterized the move as a "response to Iranian provocations."So as tensions between Riyadh and Tehran escalate, Washington is telegraphing its willingness to fight for the House of Saud -- even more explicitly than it indicated a willingness to fight for our Kurdish partners in Syria.That's how this deployment repeats the mistake of overcommitting U.S. support for non-treaty partners that we've seen play out with disastrous results for the Kurds this month. And the same disappointment may well follow, as the Trump administration is setting up a perverse incentive for Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as a future predicament for the United States.Here's how we get there: Current assurances of American support encourage Riyadh to be aggressive in its dealings with Tehran, rejecting options to de-escalate and seek a peaceful, diplomatic resolution (or at least a stalemate or balance of power both can accept). With the most powerful military in the world at its side, Saudi Arabia may well be emboldened to ratchet up hostilities toward Iran -- while Iran, feeling threatened by its enemy's position of strength, will become even more provocative in an attempt to prove itself a formidable adversary. For both sides, U.S. intervention fosters behavior that makes war more likely.If mutual escalation continues, however, Washington eventually will have to choose: Do we follow through on the pledge to fight for Saudi Arabia, becoming embroiled in a major new conflict? Or do we disentangle from the region's squabbles, declining to wage war at Saudi behest after years of suggesting we would do exactly that? Neither option is good, but both can be avoided by changing course now.Saudi Arabia is unworthy of unconditional U.S. support. Like the Kurds, it is not a treaty ally of the United States -- nor should it be, as its government is a brutal dictatorship well known to contribute to regional chaos, most visibly at present through its U.S.-enabled war in Yemen. Unlike the Kurds, it is a wealthy state perfectly capable of handling its own defense. Rather than deploying more American forces to protect an oppressive regime that has no obligation to do the same for us, Trump should finally make good on his many promises to bring U.S. soldiers home.This is a straightforward and realistic way to reject recreating the dilemma we had in Syria, and it avoids plunging us into rising conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a religious clash our government little understands and should not try to manipulate. Trump's tweeted takedowns of these past two decades of war get a lot right. But just talking about ending endless wars isn't enough, and sending thousands of Americans for fight for Saudi tyrants does not bring us closer to peace.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:50:02 -0400
  • British PM Johnson prepares fresh Brexit push

    Golocal247.com news

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepared to Monday make a second attempt to ram his EU divorce deal through parliament and avoid the political damage of delaying Brexit next week. Another momentous week in the tortuous saga could end with Johnson engineering a divorce from Brussels that breaks many of the island nation's economic relations with Europe after 46 years. British lawmakers dealt a dramatic blow to Johnson's Brexit plan at the weekend by refusing to give their backing to his revised withdrawal agreement until the legislation needed to ratify it has passed.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:39:49 -0400
  • Emmanuel Macron Can’t Save Boris Johnson

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Whoever came up with the Article 50 process for leaving the European Union probably never thought it would be used, let alone turned into a maddening form of procedural torture worthy of Kafka.Brexit was meant to have been wrapped up in March, yet the U.K.’s inability to decide what it wants has frustrated the best-laid plans of Brussels’s technocrats. After Westminster’s three rejections of former prime minister Theresa May’s original Brexit deal, and after the EU’s two extensions of the original Brexit deadline, Boris Johnson is now in Downing Street and we’ve entered a Bizarro World where reality has been turned upside down.We have a new Brexit deal that the EU insists is not a renegotiation, a special arrangement for Northern Ireland that the U.K. says is not a backstop (the name of the original guarantee in May’s deal to avoid a hard border in Ireland), and an official British request for an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline that Johnson says he doesn’t want.You can imagine the EU’s 27 other leaders taking deep breaths and counting to 10. The bloc has made a Herculean effort to parry British attempts to divide its members on Brexit, and last week’s hard-fought new deal with Johnson was greeted with back-slapping relief. Finally, the EU could get on with other issues, from a tariff war with Donald Trump’s America to tackling climate change and trying to hold a firm line on China.France’s president Emmanuel Macron showered Johnson in compliments, no doubt glad that seeing off the Brits — amicably, of course — would remove an obstacle to his ambitions for deeper EU integration. Now, once again, the prospect of delay is back, and with it the threat of more contagion as Britain’s dysfunctional national politics infects the orderly running of the EU and threatens that cherished unity.So what should the bloc do?Responding hastily is in nobody’s interest. Parliament hasn’t actually voted on the new Brexit deal yet. The demand for a three-month extension was forced on Johnson by British lawmakers as a way to make sure the Halloween deadline wouldn’t let him and his Brexiter allies bully the House of Commons into accepting “his deal or no deal.” Any ruling from Brussels on an extension before Parliament votes on Johnson’s deal (which may happen in the next couple of days) would be seen as meddling in U.K. politics. Likewise, siding with Johnson by ruling out any delay would mean committing the EU to an ugly and economically damaging no-deal split on Oct. 31 in the event that Westminster failed to rubber-stamp his deal. If there’s not enough time to organize the vote itself before the end of October, the EU would allow an extension — it has no interest in prematurely slamming the door shut, no matter what Brexiter ministers such as Michael Gove might say.If Members of Parliament approve Johnson’s deal rapidly, the debate is moot. The EU would obviously give the U.K. enough time to jump through the various legislative hoops to put Brexit into law.Where things get complicated is if Westminster thwarts Macron’s plans for a quick divorce and rejects Johnson’s deal. If the deal fails by a handful of votes, and if those votes come from Johnson’s disgruntled allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, then Macron’s more hawkish views on an extension could hold sway. Brussels might offer only a short delay (less than the three months asked for) to try to force the last few holdout MPs into line or face a no-deal exit. But if it becomes clear that Johnson’s deal will never get through the Commons (or is amended to death by opposition lawmakers) that will show the EU that Britain needs deeper political change to break the logjam. More dovish European calls for a longer extension would probably win the day. “Time alone will not solve the problem,” Amelie de Montchalin, France’s European affairs minister said on Monday, though she added there was room for discussion on an extension of six months or so should it be needed for a U.K. election or second referendum.Even though some kind of extension appears inevitable, no one should underestimate how tense this debate might become among the EU’s leaders. The situation is very different to when May was in power, when hardcore Brexiters complained that she had done a poor job and boasted they could get a better deal from Brussels. Brexiters don’t blame the EU anymore for what is clearly a U.K. problem: Parliament’s inability to decide.Macron’s impatience with London is spreading to his fellow leaders, with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel talking of Britain as a post-Brexit “competitor.” There’s a point where infinite delays will be deemed costlier than no deal.(This column was updated with a quote from Amelie de Montchalin and more detail on possible Brexit delays.)To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:00:09 -0400
  • Why Would Russia, China—and Iran—Plan Joint Naval Exercises?

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    Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastKARACHI, Pakistan—The waters around the Arabian Peninsula have calmed for the moment, but preparations combat continue, with joint exercises and security conferences showing just how profoundly the region’s strategic balances are shifting.As confidence declines in U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s ability to navigate the difficult moral and military choices in the region, new players are entering the picture in and around the Persian Gulf.Can Trump Lie His Way Out of War With Iran? Yep. That’s What He’s Been Doing.An Israeli delegation attended a U.S.-backed maritime security conference that began Sunday in Manama with delegations from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as a vast international maritime exercise, IMX 19, got under way in the Persian Gulf. Planning involved as many as 22 countries. The exercise is an annual affair that began in 2012 under the Obama administration, but took on a different coloration after the Iranian-backed attack on Saudi Arabia’s main oil processing facility on September 14. When Trump and the Saudis backed away from direct military retaliation, military exercises took on heightened significancce. Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command declared on a visit to Riyadh September 29 that, “Engaging and operating closely with regional counterparts is essential to maintain deterrence.” But at this moment when U.S. policy in the Middle East appears to be in growing disarray, the question emerges who will be the guarantor of security for the vast quantities of hydrocarbons produced and shipped from the region? And there are now ample signals that Russia wants to step into a role as part of its expanding influence in the region.One of the clearest indicators came last month when Iran—yes, Iran—announced through its official media that it would soon participate in joint naval exercises with Russia and China. Yes, China.Those reports came soon after the United States, in the aftermath of the attacks on Saudi Arabia, said it would be sending a few hundred American troops to bolster the kingdom’s defenses. That augmentation has since been increased to 3,000 U.S. troops. But the Iranian announcement was not merely reactive and should not have come as a surprise, at least where the Russian-Iranian connection was concerned.Already at the end of July, according to Jane’s Navy International, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian Navy, and Russian Navy chief Admiral Nikolai Anatolevich Evemenov “signed a memorandum of understanding” to “expand bilateral ties.”At the beginning of this month, Moscow confirmed preparations for a joint naval exercise with China and Iran in the Indian Ocean. At the Valdai Discussion Club held from September 30 until October 3 in Sochi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said flatly, "We, the People's Republic of China and Iran are preparing naval drills for fighting terrorists and pirates in this part of the Indian Ocean."The limited scope reflected China’s caution. Analysts told the South China Morning Post in September, just after the Iranian announcement, that Beijing probably would not send anything more than a few ships from its anti-piracy squadron, which has been in place off the coast of Somalia for years. The last thing it wants is to get caught between Washington and Tehran.But as military analyst Song Zhongping told the Morning Post, the Chinese “escort fleet” off the African coast is looking to extend its reach into the northern Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways “important to China’s oil lifeline in the Middle East.” So, is the planned joint exercise part of a 'preemptive defense' strategy against a possible U.S attack on Iran? Although the message is carefully calibrated, even discussion of such exercises is a show of support for Tehran at a time when Iran is reeling under the U.S policy of 'maximum pressure' pushing it toward economic isolation worldwide. The planned joint exercise does not guarantee Beijing and Moscow would side with Tehran if Iran is attacked by the U.S. or Israel, but at a minimum it suggests that possibility. Iran wants to show that it may be isolated economically but not politically or militarily. And China and Russia want to show their solidarity while taking, for the moment, minimum risks.The Russian foreign minister’s announcement at the Valdai conference at the beginning of the month “was at the request of Iran,” Andrei Fedorov, director of the Center for Political Research and Consulting in Moscow, told The Daily Beast, “but we are trying not to hurry up.” For the moment, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attention is fixed on the situation in Syria, which he will discuss with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a summit meeting on Tuesday. Over the medium and long term, however, if China, Russia and Iran continue to develop their ties to protect their strategic interests in the Indian Ocean they will form a powerful trio, with Russia taking the lead.The concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf was introduced by Moscow in July this year. The concept stipulates organizing an international conference on security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, which will later lead to creating a security and cooperation organization in the region. China has endorsed that overall concept in July. "We welcome the Russian initiative," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, according to a report by the Russian news agency TASS. "We would also like to boost cooperation, coordination and communication with all the corresponding parties," Chunying said.China and Russia, both of them permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have continued business with Tehran, defying the sanctions re-imposed by the Trump administration, and both the countries are set to deepen their involvement in Iran's energy and infrastructure sectors. Despite Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Iranian oil imposed in May, China imported more than 900,000 metric tons of crude oil from Iran in July, up more than 8 percent from the month before, according to China's General Administration of Customs.China also sees strategically located Iran as an important link in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative that could connect it to Europe. China and Iran agreed to bolster bilateral defense-military cooperation in 2016, and the two countries discussed a road map for the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership this August when Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Zarif paid a visit to his Chinese counterpart Wang Li.If Trump’s Rage Brings ‘Civil War,’ Where Will the Military Stand?China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil, and Saudi Arabia, which supplies the Chinese with a million barrels a day, has now become Beijing’s second largest crude oil supplier after Russia. But Beijing would like to diversify by finding a way to expand its importation of Iranian oil.   Thanks to president Trump's manufactured crisis in the Persian Gulf after his unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the policy of economic strangulation against Iran China, Russia and Iran are drawing closer as strategic partners.Christopher Dickey also contributed to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:59:59 -0400
  • Putin steps up push for influence in Africa with broadside against West

    President Vladimir Putin stepped up Russia's push for influence in Africa days before he hosts a summit with African leaders, saying on Monday that Moscow can offer help without political conditions unlike what he cast as the exploitative West. The Kremlin has said it expects 47 African leaders to converge on the Black Sea city of Sochi for the Oct. 23-24 event, Moscow's first Russia-Africa summit and part of an ambitious push for influence and business in Africa.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:59:38 -0400
  • Lebanon Heads for Showdown as Reform Vows Fail to Quell Revolt

    (Bloomberg) -- Lebanese officials are scrambling to finalize an economic plan to avert a financial meltdown and quell days of nationwide demonstrations demanding the ouster of a political class blamed for entrenched corruption and worsening living standards.The government began a meeting Monday morning to agree on a series of measures after Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave his coalition partners 72 hours to come up with a reform package, a deadline that expires tonight. Government ministers have already withdrawn plans to tax WhatsApp calls, which sparked the revolt, and pledged to impose no new levies on ordinary people in the 2020 budget.Those promises have so far done little to appease protesters who took to the streets for a fifth day Monday saying they would settle for nothing less than a wholesale change to a political system based on sectarian power-sharing and the removal of a political elite they say has built its power base and lined its pockets by exploiting poverty and differences.The stakes are high for Lebanon, which straddles the region’s geopolitical fault-lines and has often been a proxy battleground for the Middle East’s broader conflicts. The 15-year civil war ended in 1990 but still haunts a country where the warlords became the rulers and have remained in power ever since. It is that class that protesters say has plundered the state, leaving it unable to provide basic services, including electricity, and close to bankruptcy.Highlighting the depth of public anger, the revolt for the first time cut across sectarian and political lines, with demonstrators taking aim at both local lawmakers and senior politicians in a way that was, until recently, unimaginable.“We want 24-hour electricity, 24-hour water, free hospitals for the poor, free good schools. We pay taxes and we get nothing and they want to increase them as well?” said Iman, who runs a snack bar in Beirut, declining to give her full name for privacy. “We want a new generation, not the old faces. Get rid of the sectarian system. Let Lebanese just be a Lebanese and not have to beg a sectarian leader for help securing their most basic needs.”How Lebanon’s Unrest Is Both New and More of the Same: QuickTakeClock TicksTime is not on Lebanon’s side, however. One of the most indebted countries in the world, it needs to find fresh sources of funding as the foreign inflows on which it has traditionally relied have dried up.Yields on Lebanon’s $1 billion of bonds due in May 2029 have risen 70 basis points in the last two trading sessions to 13.4%. Yields on its 2021 dollar bonds surged for a second day, adding more than one percentage point to 21.88% as of 9:37 a.m. in London. The cost of insuring its debt against default was steady, with credit-default swaps trading at 1,251 after a jump of 76 basis points on Friday, the most in a month.Regional instability has made it harder to revive an economy already struggling to absorb more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees who’ve fled the war next door. As weaker oil prices hit growth in the oil-exporting Gulf, foreign job markets that once absorbed Lebanese graduates have closed. Complaints from young people unable to find work at home or abroad have been emblematic of the revolt.Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, has traditionally been backed by Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has withheld support as the influence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah over the government has grown. It has ignored Hariri’s pleas for financial aid to avert a looming debt crisis.Meanwhile, Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Muslim armed group with a powerful political wing, has seen its own income dwindle as the U.S. sanctions some of its members as well as its main backer, Iran. With financial pressures rising, Hezbollah and its allies have opposed Hariri’s push to impose taxes and take other measures they fear will harm low income families that form a large section of their support base.Political differences have also delayed plans to restructure Lebanon’s electricity sector, which loses $2 billion a year. But in the absence of such reforms, Lebanon has been unable to unlock about $11 billion in international aid pledges made at a donor conference in Paris 18 months ago.The International Monetary Fund projects Lebanon’s current-account deficit will reach almost 30% of gross domestic product by the end of this year. It predicts that economic growth, stagnant at 0.3% in 2018, would continue to be weak. Public debt is projected to increase to 155% of GDP by the end of 2019.No More TrustAgainst this backdrop, banks, schools and the stock market were shut on Monday, as were many businesses. Protesters blocked roads around the country as protesters streamed back into the streets waving the flag.Four ministers from the Lebanese Forces, a major Christian party hitherto allied with Hariri, stood down Saturday, saying they had no faith in the government’s ability to deliver. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, also in the Hariri camp, has not withdrawn his two ministers due to concerns that a collapse in the government would hasten the financial moment of reckoning.The financial crisis has been years in the making. For months, sporadic protests and strikes have erupted as a shortage of dollars squeezes businesses and threatens a currency peg in place for more than two decades. Some ATMs no longer dispense dollars and a black market for hard currency is growing, pushing up prices amid stagnant growth.Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech Saturday that the government should not quit but stay to find a way out of the crisis. Hezbollah was reluctant to escalate with a counter-protests, he warned, but would do so if pressed.“Even if they come up with a workable plan, we don’t trust anyone anymore. They’re just offering concessions to shut us up,” said Nour Zain, a university student. “We want the government to fall, then to change the sectarian electoral system, followed by new elections. This will take time. The problem is the financial crisis means we don’t have time.”To contact the reporters on this story: Lin Noueihed in Beirut at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net;Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:44:21 -0400
  • UK PM Johnson on right side of the law over Brexit delay letter - lawyer

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on the right side of the law after he reluctantly sent a letter requesting a Brexit delay at his opponents' behest, a lawyer who has worked on high-profile cases challenging the government said on Monday. Johnson's defeat in the British parliament on Saturday over the sequencing of the ratification of his deal exposed the prime minister to a law passed by those opposed to a no deal departure, demanding he request a delay until Jan. 31. Johnson sent the request note as required, but unsigned, and added another signed letter arguing against what he cast as a deeply corrosive delay.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:43:05 -0400
  • Boris Johnson Revives Push to Get Brexit Deal Passed

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    (Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson is making a fresh bid to deliver on his promise to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 amid mounting optimism that he now has the backing to get his deal through Parliament.Cabinet ministers made clear the premier is undeterred after a vote on Saturday forced him to write to the EU asking for a three-month extension to the deadline.Johnson will on Monday try again to put his deal to a vote in the House of Commons in an attempt to win lawmakers’ endorsement in principle for the agreement he struck with the EU last week. He first tried to win Parliamentary support for his deal on Saturday but MPs headed off that attempt and forced him into a delay instead.Johnson’s fresh bid to seek MPs’ approval on Monday puts him on a possible collision course with Commons Speaker John Bercow. The speaker could decide not to allow the vote because it amounts to asking the Commons to decide on the same question twice in the same session, in breach of parliamentary rules.That would not be the end for Johnson’s deal, though. At the same time, the government will introduce the detailed legislation needed to deliver his Brexit agreement in the hope of fast-tracking that law through both houses of Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline.Enough VotesMinisters insisted on Sunday that it now has the backing of the 320 members of Parliament needed to win a vote on approving Johnson’s Brexit deal.“We appear to have the numbers to get this through,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC TV’s “Andrew Marr Show.”That optimism was shared by Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, who said the risk of a no-deal Brexit had increased because there was no guarantee the EU would grant Britain’s request for an extension.The government confirmed on Sunday it was triggering Operation Yellowhammer, its contingency plan to make sure Britain can deal with the fallout from a chaotic departure from the EU.GrudgingJohnson made clear to the EU that he’d rather Britain leave without delay and he refused to sign the letter requesting an extension, one of three sent to Brussels late Saturday. European Council President Donald Tusk is now consulting member states on how to respond.The Times of London on Sunday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, said the EU is ready to grant a three-month extension if Parliament fails to approve the deal, with the U.K. able to leave on the 1st or 15th of November, December or January if an accord is ratified. If Johnson calls a second referendum, or meets other obstacles, governments led by Germany would push for a longer extension, possibly pushing the deadline to June 2020, the Times said.Johnson received a boost when former cabinet minister Amber Rudd, who walked out of the government and the Tory party in protest at the expulsion of 21 colleagues, said she and many among those who were kicked out are ready to support his deal.The prime minister also has the backing of a small number of Labour MPs, though he may struggle to win over many more. Crucially, Labour wants a customs union with the EU and for any deal to be put to another referendum with an option to stay in the bloc, demands on which there appears little room for compromise.The main opposition party was last night accused of trying to obstruct Brexit after Keir Starmer, its Brexit spokesman, said Labour would back amendments on a second referendum and a customs union.Though it is doubtful that either proposal could command a majority in the Commons, Starmer made a direct appeal to the Conservatives’ former allies in the Democratic Unionist Party to rethink their opposition to a customs union.But the DUP’s Jim Shannon ruled that out on Monday, telling Sky News a customs union is “something we cannot support.”The DUP’s 10 votes on Saturday made the difference between defeat and victory, and there are no signs they are softening. The party has deep reservations about anything that creates any kind of border between Britain and Northern Ireland, such as customs checks in the Irish Sea, and wants a stronger consent mechanism that hands a greater say to the regional assembly.(Updates with DUP comment in penultimate paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:38:20 -0400
  • Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens Next

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    (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed in his first attempt to get his Brexit deal approved in a vote in the British Parliament. He’s been forced to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline, but says he’s going to fight all the way to complete the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union on time.Here’s what could happen next, according to government plans.Monday, Oct. 21Hundreds of civil servants get to work on the government’s no-deal Brexit contingency plan, Operation Yellowhammer, in preparation for a split on Oct. 31.Johnson will propose another “meaningful vote” on his Brexit dealThe government thinks there is a good chance Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will not allow this to happen on the grounds MPs have already considered the exact same question, and convention bars a repeatThe House of Commons opens for business at 2:30 p.m. and Bercow will make his decision at some point after that; if it does happen, the vote is likely to be before 10 p.m.The government is also expecting to publish the draft law implementing the Brexit deal -- this is called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. It won’t be debated until later in the weekA Scottish court will decide whether Johnson has complied with the Benn Act that requires him to seek a delay to Brexit if he hasn’t reached a deal. Johnson’s lawyers previously promised the judge hearing the case that the premier would act according to the lawTuesday, Oct. 22Government will propose a motion designed to speed up progress of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill -- the crucial piece of law that will incorporate Johnson’s Brexit deal into British statute, preventing a no-deal divorceThis “programme motion” will lay out a timetable for rushing the law through Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline, potentially by completing all its House of Commons stages before the end of Friday, with an emergency House of Lords sitting over the weekendBut the government fears it could lose a vote on this timetable, and that could mean the Bill does not get put forward at all. Or that there will be no way to get the legislation through before the Oct. 31 deadline. That could mean a no-deal Brexit -- or more likely a delay If the government wins the motion on the timetable for the bill, members of Parliament will begin debating it immediatelyTo Be Decided:The EU is considering Johnson’s formal request for a Brexit extension. It is possible an emergency EU summit will be convenedTo contact the reporter on this story: Tim Ross in London at tross54@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 03:57:33 -0400
  • N.Irish DUP lawmaker: we shall not support EU customs union proposal

    A lawmaker from the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party said on Monday that it would not support a possible amendment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal that would put the United Kingdom in a customs union with the European Union. "We are clear where we stand on the customs union as something that we cannot support and will not support, and I believe that that will be the stance we will have later on when we see the wording," DUP lawmaker Jim Shannon said.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 03:56:09 -0400
  • U.K. Businesses’ Brexit Frustration Mounting With the Costs

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    (Bloomberg) -- In September, Jaguar Land Rover unveiled a new development facility near Coventry in central England, equipped with technologies like 3-D printing and dedicated to a futuristic vision dubbed “Destination Zero”: No emissions, accidents or congestion.Early next month, Britain’s biggest auto manufacturer plans to add another goose egg: Zero production.The maker of luxurious Jaguar sedans and rugged Range Rover SUVs is idling its U.K. factories for a week in order to guard against supply-chain disruption after the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union. The shutdown will go ahead whether the U.K. departs with a deal, crashes out without one or secures another delay.After a weekend of political chaos that left Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement in tatters, the answer to that question remains as elusive as it was more than three years ago when the country voted to leave. U.K. Plc is nowhere nearer the clarity it craves.“We need tariff free, frictionless and seamless conditions to do business,” Ralf Speth, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said in an interview on Sunday.While most business leaders want to avoid a no-deal departure, continued uncertainty is not much better. With the cliff edge looming, and the prospect of another one in three months if the EU grants Parliament’s request for a further delay, collateral damage is mounting.“There will be a hangover into next year, regardless of what happens next,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce. “The political inaction has had serious economic consequences.”After Johnson secured an 11th-hour agreement with Brussels last week, industry groups including the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Retail Consortium had allowed themselves a glimmer of hope, urging politicians to move swiftly to end the state of limbo.The weekend brought a reality check. In a rare Saturday sitting of the House of Commons, lawmakers denied Johnson the chance of putting his deal to the test by voting in favor of an amendment that basically required him to ask the EU for a delay.The government confirmed on Sunday it was triggering Operation Yellowhammer, its contingency plan to deal with the fallout from a chaotic departure from the EU.On Monday, Johnson will on Monday ask the House of Commons to support his deal with the EU in a new “meaningful vote,” a test he was denied Saturday after lawmakers voted in favor of an amendment that sought more time for the agreement to be scrutinized.Bonmarche, a womenswear retailer that has been struggling for years, late Friday went into administration, a British insolvency procedure, saying uncertainty over the departure from the EU delivered a knockout blow.“The delay in Brexit has created negativities, both in the global markets towards Britain and damaged consumer sentiment,” CEO Helen Connolly said. “Without such a delay, it is feasible to believe that our issues would have been more manageable.”Overall, the U.K. has weathered Brexit better than some had feared. The housing market has cooled but not collapsed. While the economy unexpectedly shrank in August, it’s on track to avoid a recession in the third quarter.The cost for companies has been steep, though. Carmakers are particularly exposed to the vicissitudes of Brexit because of their just-in-time supply chains. They’ve spent more than 500 million pounds ($650 million) to prepare, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG have also announced plans to halt production, while Nissan Motor Co. has warned that tariffs on auto exports to the EU are likely to render its U.K. operations unsustainable.Drugmakers have had to build up supplies to ensure the U.K. doesn’t fall short of essential medicines, while adding plant capacity elsewhere in the EU to meet post-Brexit regulatory requirements. AstraZeneca Plc has estimated that it’s spending about 40 million pounds to 50 million pounds to make sure it can sell products overseas, while GlaxoSmithKline Plc sees its Brexit costs at almost double that amount.In London’s financial district, equity issuance has dried up and about 1,000 investment banking jobs have been moved to other European hubs. Banks have also earmarked up to 1 trillion pounds in assets to move to the EU, according to consultancy EY, but many have been slow to make the shift.“This rolling period of uncertainty does make it harder to plan around,” said James Wood-Collins, CEO at specialist currency manager Record Plc.Farmers have been struggling to attract labor amid questions over EU nationals’ post-Brexit rights in the U.K. About 16% of agricultural jobs went unfilled in September, forcing farms to seek labor from more non-EU nations, raising employment costs.Manufacturers have also been tapping the brakes. In the third quarter, U.K. factory owners reported a deterioration in sales, cash flow and investment, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce.All of this is a far cry from the “sunlit meadows” beyond the EU that Johnson promised during the referendum campaign.Jaguar Land Rover’s planned shutdown shows the cost. The company makes about 450,000 Land Rover Discovery sport-utility vehicles, Jaguar XJ cars and other automobiles in the U.K.; one week’s production represents almost 9,000 vehicles.Shares of JLR parent Tata Motors Ltd. surged late last week on prospects for an end to the uncertainty. Now the best that many business leaders can dare to hope for is a new delay.“A majority of our members would rather have an extension than the reality of a no-deal Brexit,” said Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry. “But it needs to be an extension with a purpose.”(Updates with details about government’s next steps in tenth, eleventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Manisha Jha, Marion Dakers, John Lauerman and Ellen Milligan.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Pfanner in London at epfanner1@bloomberg.net;Siddharth Philip in London at sphilip3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:43:41 -0400
  • German official: EU decision on Brexit extension days away

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    Germany's economy minister is suggesting it will be a few days before the European Union decides whether to grant a delay to Britain's withdrawal from the bloc. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson grudgingly sent a letter seeking an extension of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline after Parliament slammed the brakes on his effort to push through a new divorce deal. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier noted on Deutschlandfunk radio Monday that Johnson's government will attempt to get a vote on the deal this week.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:40:42 -0400
  • Brexit Bulletin: (Yet Another) Manic Monday

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    Brexit is 10 days away.(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.Today in Brexit: The U.K. is due to leave the European Union 10 days from now. It has a bit of work to do first.What’s happening? After a dramatic weekend that ultimately resolved very little, Boris Johnson’s government will try again to hold a vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal. That could put him on a collision course with opposition parties, and with Speaker John Bercow.And what actually happened at the weekend? In brief: Parliament voted to delay a decision on Johnson’s revised Brexit deal until enabling legislation is on the statute book. The prime minister vowed not to “negotiate” an extension to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, but then (as required by law) sent the EU a letter requesting exactly that. He also sent another letter, trying to say that he doesn’t want any delay. Nevertheless, as James Kirkup put it in the Spectator: Boris Johnson “talked a good fight, then caved.” It’s now in the EU’s hands.The government wants to start again, as soon as today. But Bercow might refuse — he barred former Prime Minister Theresa May from simply trying again with an identical proposal after one of her Brexit deal defeats. And even if Bercow says yes, opponents of Johnson’s Brexit are preparing a raft of amendments that could stymie the passage either of the deal or of accompanying legislation. The pro-Brexit press isn’t thrilled with that.No-deal supremo Michael Gove told Sky News on Sunday that he feels a no-deal Brexit is now more likely in the wake of Saturday’s vote to delay. With just 10 days left until Brexit, the government has now activated Operation Yellowhammer, allowing departments to take action to offset worst-case outcomes.Johnson remains bullish because the way Saturday played out raised his hopes of passing the deal if and when it does come to a vote. Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton and Greg Ritchie have been keeping track of the numbers, and we’ve also mapped how MPs voted on the amendment that scuppered the prime minister’s “Super Saturday.”Today’s Must-ReadsBloomberg’s Tim Ross explains what happens next in Brexit, according to government plans. “Hopes have been dashed.” Here’s what market players are saying about the Brexit weekend.  Business leaders foresee a Brexit hangover into 2020 no matter what happens this week, Eric Pfanner and Siddarth Philip report, starting with a production shutdown at Jaguar Land Rover early next month.  Brussels wants to move on from Brexit, writes Wolfgang Munchau in the Financial Times; no one should underestimate how tense the EU extension debate could become, Lionel Laurent writes for Bloomberg Opinion. If you’re enjoying the Brexit Bulletin, or if you think we could do better, we’d love to hear your views. Please take a few minutes to fill in our survey.Brexit in BriefSterling Slides | The week kicks off with the pound heading lower, Bloomberg’s Anooja Debnath and Ruth Carson report, trading at $1.2922 early on Monday, following a four-day rally last week. Analysts are split over what happens next, but see lower risks of a no-deal exit. The pound could rise as high as $1.36 if Parliament backs the deal, according to Credit Agricole.Fungible Prolongation | EU leaders are preparing to offer a flexible extension that would allow the U.K. to exit the EU on a variety of different dates depending on when the necessary legislation is passed, the Times reports.Don’t Worry | Brexit won’t have a big impact on the European or global economies, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said, offering a counterpoint to persistent concerns by global policy makers that the move could further dent already-weakening growth.Speaking Out | In a not-so-coded dig at Speaker Bercow, one of his deputies, Dame Eleanor Laing, wrote in the Telegraph that his successor must be an “independent anchor” and set an example through “dignified, respectful behaviour.”Lawyers Watching | Businesswoman Gina Miller, who has twice defeated the government over Brexit in the Supreme Court, says she’ll challenge any bid to scupper a Brexit extension, and will launch a tactical voting website ahead of an upcoming general election to help voters navigate the U.K.’s “imperfect electoral system.”Prices Rising | Asking prices for London homes rose 2.4% in October with new listings down 30% from a year earlier, according to Rightmove Plc, in a sign of how the Brexit crisis has made prospective sellers reluctant to take the plunge.Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Adam Blenford in London at ablenford@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Caitlin Morrison at cmorrison59@bloomberg.net, Leila TahaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:29:47 -0400
  • China issues stinging rebuke of US at Beijing defense forum

    Gen. Wei Fenghe did not refer directly to the U.S. in his opening remarks at the Xiangshan Forum. Wei said China wouldn't accept or be intimidated by such an approach, which he extended to "long-arm jurisdiction," China's pejorative term for U.S. sanctions on countries such as China, North Korea and Iran.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:28:31 -0400
  • Mike Pompeo on Syria, China and Playing the Long Game

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Jerusalem on Friday morning, the city was full of evangelical pilgrims celebrating the Festival of Tabernacles. Like Pompeo, the many thousands of evangelical pilgrims were all Christian Zionists. But he arrived in the Israeli capital to deliver a reassuring message — and also a warning.Earlier that week, the U.S. announced its decision to abandon their wartime allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to the tender mercies of Turkey’s President Erdogan. The Kurds are “no angels” President Trump pronounced. This naturally left Israelis wondering if their alliance with the U.S. would depend on meeting this new angelic criterion.Pompeo waved that away. “It would be a fundamental misreading of these last few weeks to suggest that there is any risk to our relationship,” he told me when we met at the official residence of the U.S. ambassador in Jerusalem. “Our relations with Israel are founded on pillars of culture, institutions, shared values and defense interests. That relationship is so strong that it could even withstand peace breaking out in the Middle East.”  I asked Pompeo if he, as a former military officer, felt discomfort over the U.S. government turning its back on its Kurdish comrades in arms. “It is fundamentally wrong to say the U.S. abandoned the Kurds,” he said.“We remain in close touch with the SDF and we will continue to work together to take down the threat of radical Islamic terrorism in Syria and western Iraq.”Now that the Kurds have made an alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will the U.S. now need to coordinate policy with Damascus? Pompeo waves away the suggestion. “We won’t seek the approval of Damascus. We’re in constant contact with the SDF. Even in the last few minutes.”Pompeo rejects that idea that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria gives the Russians a permanent stronghold there. Russian forces have taken advantage of the vacuum left by Trump’s withdrawal, a fact that has been much celebrated in the Russian media.None of that seems to bother Pompeo. “Syria is in desperate condition. Six million people have fled. The country is in ruins. It will need four to five hundred billion dollars, depending on how you count it, for basic reconstruction. There are many stories yet to be told,” he says.I asked Pompeo about President Trump’s contention that the U.S. stations troops in many countries where they are not needed. Wouldn’t withdrawing these forces send a message of American weakness?“Never mistake troop strength for security. Counting battalions is an unsophisticated way of measuring strength. If you build your economy and have military power that stands behind your diplomatic might, you can actually achieve outcomes in a way that deters and reduces the need for increased forces.” So far, the Trump administration has shown a decided preference for this sort of preventive warfare, using sanctions and tariffs all over the globe. Pompeo sees it as an effective weapon, especially in the case of Iran.“Iran’s economy will shrink 10% to 15% in 2020,” he said. “That means the regime has fewer resources to build out its terror campaign, to improve its missile program or to invest in a new generation of military technology.” He also insists that the people of Iran are increasingly aware of how corrupt and inept the regime is.Until March, the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Jerusalem had been the U.S. consulate. It served as the de facto American embassy to the Palestinian Authority. The change symbolizes this administration’s unequivocal support for Israel. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman recently said that the much-awaited American peace proposal will not force people to leave their homes. Does that mean Israeli settlers would be able to stay?“Ambassador Friedman’s statement is certainly true,” responds Pompeo. “Our vision would deliver an outcome that Ambassador Friedman just described.” Pompeo refused to be drawn on whether the result would be similar to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's Autonomy Plan, which did not allow for an independent Palestinian state. When one of Pompeo’s aides signaled that his time was up, I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say. His answer surprised me.“Yes. The only thing we didn’t talk about that impacts this region is China. For a decade and change, the democracies of the world slept while China began its march. Today the strategic opportunity and the strategic threat emanates from the Chinese Communist Party.” “The strategic threat? The main threat?” I ask. Israelis aren’t used to thinking of China as their biggest worry.  “Yes. The Chinese Communist Party has begun to engage in activities that expose the world to infrastructure and networks controlled, operated and accessed by the Communist Party. They are also building out their military capacity. Democracies that value liberty, freedom and the rule of law will need to respond to the Chinese Communist Party’s model which is fundamentally at odds with those central ideas. I think the people of Israel need to watch how they are addressing it.”  I asked if he meant that Israel should back off some of its infrastructure and telecommunications projects with China.” China and Hong Kong are Israel’s second largest export market and the proportion of Israeli trade with China has been rising fast. China is also heavily invested in Israeli infrastructure projects, such as the Tel Aviv light rail.“We never tell sovereign nations what to do,” Pompeo said. “Every sovereign nation gets to make its own decisions. But we think it needs to be with eyes wide open.”To contact the author of this story: Zev Chafets at zchafets@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Zev Chafets is a journalist and author of 14 books. He was a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the founding managing editor of the Jerusalem Report Magazine.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:00:24 -0400
  • 'When home won't let you stay': artwork addressing global migration

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    In a new exhibition in Boston, brings together 20 years of artists exploring issues of displacement and immigrationReena Saini Kallat – Woven Chronicle. Photograph: Jonathan Muzikar/Courtesy the artist and Nature Morte, New Delhi“You only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well,” writes Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet in her poem, Home.Another line from the poem, “When home won’t let you stay,” is the title of a new exhibition opening 23 October at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.Featuring 40 artworks created by 20 key artists, When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration Through Contemporary Art looks at how displacement, migration and immigration has inspired the works of artists over the past 20 years. The pieces tell some of the stories of the 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, according to a United Nations Refugee Agency statistic.“This isn’t a survey on the complicated topic of migration, displacement and immigration of people,” said co-curator Eva Respini. “Instead, we wanted to have a focused look through this moment right now. It’s a signpost of these ideas always through the lens of art and artists.”The first thing viewers see upon entering the exhibition is Woven Chronicle, an artwork by Indian artist Reena Saini Kallat, created between the years 2011 and 2016. It’s a wall map made of yarn, tracking the global routes where migrants have traveled; from contract workers to refugees and asylum seekers. Though the artwork was completed in 2016, the artist keeps updating it to trace new routes.Hayv Kahraman – Bab el Sheikh. Photograph: Hayv Kahraman“Over the years, I’ve tried to incorporate changes by updating the research,” said Kallat, who has updated the map with the territorial split between Sudan and South Sudan. “Even though the work is not meant to be an illustration of the numbers of refugees, as we have more data coming in, I keep trying to update the information we have in the archives,” she adds.The Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman is showing Bab el Sheikh from 2013, an oil on wood wall piece showing a person either descending or ascending a staircase. As a refugee who left Iraq as a child, then moved through Europe and then the US, it’s what co-curator Ruth Erickson calls “a memory of home, reflecting on her own experience as a refugee”.The Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum is showing Exodus II from 2002, a sculpture that connects a pair of suitcases with strands of hair, suggesting separation from familial roots.Also on view are landscape photographs by the California-based artist Richard Misrach, who documented the 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico for his series Border Cantos from 2004 to 2016.Rineke Dijkstra – Almerisa, Wormer, The Netherlands, June 23, 1996. Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New YorkThe Irish artist Richard Mosse is showing a three-channel video called Incoming, which was created between 2014 and 2017. “It tracks the route of refugees from North Africa and Middle East to Europe, mostly over water, landing on shores of southern Europe and making their way through refugee camps,” said Respini.One of the most recurrent images in the exhibition is the sea. “The site of the sea, the migration route and the refugee camp all play a role here,” said Erickson.The Moroccan artist Yto Barrada is showing works from her series, A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project, which the artist created between 1998 and 2003. Today, this part of the Mediterranean sea, the Strait of Gibraltar is the route to the south of Spain’s Andalusia region, which sees more migrant arrivals than anywhere else in Europe, making it especially timely.The Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra is showing works from her Almerisa series, which sees her photographing a Bosnian refugee woman over the course of 14 years, first as a child, and now as a mother.There’s also a new site-specific, community project by the Boston-based artist Anthony Romero, who collaborated with the immigrant community in east Boston. “He did a series of listening sessions, which are immigration stories,” said Erickson. “These audio recordings are a kind of community archiving for east Boston residents, story sharing.”It’s no coincidence that the museum overlooks the Boston harbor, which faces the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s a big theme that comes out of our desire to think about our museum site-specifically,” said Respini.“We’re perched on the Boston harbor, and everyone who visits us can see a dramatic view on top of the water. We’re dealing with perilous crossings over sea, a middle passage, we thought it felt right for our building, it’s so prevalent today.” * When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration Through Contemporary Art is on show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston from 23 October to 26 January

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 01:00:35 -0400
  • Pound shrugs off Johnson's latest Brexit setback

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    Sterling fell modestly as trading resumed Monday following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest failure to break the Brexit deadlock, with forex markets shrugging off a weekend of drama in the British parliament. Instead of delivering a verdict on the deal itself, lawmakers voted to force Johnson to ask the European Union for another Brexit delay, hoping to prevent the country crashing out of the bloc on October 31 with no agreement in place.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 21:00:52 -0400
  • PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Oct 21

    Here are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes he "has the numbers" to ram his deal through the Commons by the end of the week, although the European Union is preparing to delay Brexit until February if he fails. - Visual effects firm DNEG, which has worked on films such as "No Time to Die" and "Captain Marvel", could have to pay HM Revenue & Customs more than 10 million pounds in back taxes and penalties, after details of an investigation came to light in disclosures filed last week.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:35:59 -0400
  • Report: Synagogue massacre led to string of attack plots

    At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly one year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday. The Anti-Defamation League also counted at least 50 incidents in which white supremacists are accused of targeting Jewish institutions' property since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. The ADL said its nationwide count of anti-Semitic incidents remains near record levels.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:35:35 -0400
  • U.K. Starts ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Preparations as EU Poised to Delay

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.The U.K. accelerated its preparations to leave the European Union without an agreement on Oct. 31 as the bloc was reportedly poised to give Prime Minister Boris Johnson more time, if he needs it, to work out a deal.The government on Sunday activated “Operation Yellowhammer,” in which agencies and departments take action to offset the worst-case outcomes anticipated from an exit without a formal agreement. The deadline for leaving is the end of this month.“We have now entered the final, most intensive stage” of preparations, according to a government official. “With less than two weeks until 31 October, hundreds of civil servants will from today move to work on these operational matters.”Johnson’s plan to win approval of his newly minted deal with the EU was set back when the House of Commons, in a rare Saturday meeting, voted 322-306 in favor of an amendment that required him to ask the EU for the delay. Bound by a law he opposed, Johnson formally asked the EU to delay Brexit until Jan. 31. But he made clear that he’d rather Britain leave without delay and refused to sign the letter requesting an extension to his Oct. 31 target.Johnson’s reverse knocked the pound in early Asian trading, though any weakness may be short lived, analysts at Credit Agricole and Natwest Markets wrote in research notes. Even though political uncertainty remains, both banks see a diminishing risk of the U.K. crashing out of the bloc without a deal, with Credit Agricole predicting the pound reaching $1.36 and Natwest forecasting $1.35.The Times of London on Sunday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, said the EU is ready to grant a three-month extension if Parliament fails to approve the deal, with the U.K. able to leave on the 1st or 15th of November, December or January if an accord is ratified. If Johnson calls a second referendum, or meets other obstacles, governments led by Germany would push for a longer extension, possibly pushing the deadline to June 2020, the Times said.Gove’s WarningOne of the leading members of Johnson’s cabinet warned lawmakers on Sunday the country could crash out on Oct. 31 if Parliament rejectsJohnson’s Brexit deal.Michael Gove said he was confident the prime minister had enough support in Parliament to get the agreement over the line as he warned that lawmakers had increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit by forcing Johnson to ask the EU for a delay. A vote on the plan could come as soon as this week.“If we don’t back this deal, then the risk is that the European Council may not grant an extension,” Gove, who is in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, told Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” show. “We can’t bet on that. It’s not a sure thing.”Hours after the Saturday vote, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear the deal had been negotiated and that further delay in Britain’s departure was “in no one’s interest.” However, Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said Sunday that it would be “sensible” to grant an extension. A unanimous agreement among EU nations is needed to approve a delay.Johnson now plans to push through the legislation needed to take Britain out of the EU at the end of the month, and the slender margin of Saturday’s vote suggests he could succeed.TimetableThe Withdrawal Agreement Bill could begin its journey as soon as Tuesday, after Johnson makes another attempt on Monday to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal. If a vote is permitted tomorrow and Johnson wins, he could withdraw the request for an extension.“We’re going to deliver by the 31st of October,” Gove said. “We are going to ensure that we get this deal done and I’m confident that with the support of good people with whom we may have disagreed in the past, but who respect democracy, we will get this deal done.”Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also expressed optimism, telling BBC TV’s “Andrew Marr” show that “we appear to have the numbers to get this through.”Johnson received a boost earlier Sunday when former cabinet minister Amber Rudd, who walked out of the government and the Tory party in protest at the expulsion of 21 colleagues, said she and many among those kicked out are ready to support his deal.“We do want to leave with a deal and this deal from the prime minister is good enough for me,” said Rudd, who backed the Letwin amendment that forced the delay.Labour and DUPJohnson also has the support of a small number of Labour MPs, though he may struggle to win over many more with the party calculating that a wounded Johnson would be easier to take on in the likely general election to come.Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is seeking safeguards over issues from the environment to workers’ rights. Crucially, it wants a customs union with the EU and for any deal to be put to another referendum with an option to stay in the EU, areas in which Johnson is highly unlikely to compromise.His key problem could lie in wooing back his allies in the Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 votes on Saturday made the difference between defeat and victory. The Northern Irish party has deep reservations about anything that creates any kind of border between Britain and Northern Ireland, such as customs checks in the Irish Sea, and wants a stronger consent mechanism that hands a greater say to the regional assembly.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, James Ludden, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:25:52 -0400
  • Lebanese revolt against their leaders in rare sign of unity

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    Hundreds of thousands thronged public squares in the capital and across Lebanon on Sunday in the largest protests the country has seen since 2005, unifying an often divided public in revolt against traditional leaders who have ruled for three decades and brought the economy to the brink of disaster. Ditching party flags and carrying only white and red Lebanese flags with a cedar tree in the center, they flooded streets in Beirut, the northern city of Tripoli, in eastern Baalbek as well as cities, towns and villages near the southern border with Israel and along Syria's border in the east. In downtown Beirut, the scene was reminiscent of the days after Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a massive bombing in 2005, triggering a mass uprising against Syria's occupation of Lebanon after Damascus was blamed for the killing.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:25:23 -0400
  • How to Tame Irrational Iran and Win a Nuclear Deal

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    The Trump administration should remain firm with the pressure campaign, continue trying to get the Europeans on board a harsher response to Iran’s aggressions, carve out a clear negotiations strategy, and be wary of blinking first.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:22:00 -0400
  • Lebanon rocked by vast protests demanding resignation of Hariri government

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    Lebanon was shaken on Sunday by its largest protests in years as young and old turned out en masse to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his coalition government. It marked the fourth day of protests following a proposal for new taxes, which ignited widespread anger over austerity measures and corruption in a deeply unequal society.  The plan - to tax WhatsApp calls and other third-party applications that have long afforded cash-strapped Lebanese a chance to chat for free - was quickly dropped. But the protests have morphed into demands for an overhaul of the entire political system in the crisis-ravaged country. After on Friday laying out a 72-hour deadline for parties to agree to a framework for economic reforms, Mr Hariri held round-the-clock meetings with Lebanon’s various political blocs to discuss proposals for the 2020 budget.  Late on Sunday Mr Hariri appeared to have bought himself some time with the announcement of a package of reforms including a 50 percent reduction in the salaries of current and former officials.  The reforms also include $3.3 billion in contributions from banks to reduce the deficit in the heavily indebted country, and plans to overhaul the crippled electricity sector. But they will not be confirmed until approved by the cabinet on Monday, and it is unclear whether they will go far enough. On Saturday night, the resignation of four ministers from the Christian Lebanese Forces, a party allied with Mr Hariri, underscored the chaos in government.  By Sunday evening, with just 24 hours to go before Mr Hariri’s deadline, the country’s streets were awash in flags and furious Lebanese taking aim at all corners. “Neither Saudi nor Iran will be able to take this protest down,” chanted demonstrators in downtown Beirut Sunday night, referencing the regional arch-rivals that have long jostled for control of the tiny Mediterranean country. In the predominantly Shia city of Tyre, in the country’s south, there were chants accusing parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, himself Shia, of corruption. There has also been vocal opposition to Hizbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. “All of them means all of them. Nasrallah is one of them,” was heard throughout the protests.  While demonstrators called for the government’s departure, its actual collapse would likely herald even greater instability and economic disaster – something MPs seem anxious to avoid. Mr Hariri has hinted at resignation if his demands are not met. But there are few obvious alternatives to the current PM. Not only is the post limited to Sunnis by the country’s power-sharing system, but it is also unclear who would be willing to take over in such a disastrous economic situation. Mr Hariri formed the current government of national unity in February after nine months of wrangling. He is currently in his third term as leader.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 14:57:07 -0400
  • South Sudan's opposition leader warns of return to civil war

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    South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar warned Sunday that the country could return to civil war if a coalition government is formed by a Nov. 12 deadline and he asked for another months-long delay for the crucial step in a fragile peace deal. Machar made an impassioned plea to a visiting United Nations Security Council delegation that met with him and President Salva Kiir to urge speedier progress in pulling the country out of a five-year civil war that killed almost 400,000 people. "Suppose we form a government on the 12th, you know what's going to happen?

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 14:08:12 -0400
  • Mick Mulvaney seeks Trump damage control over impeachment and more

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    * Chief of staff defends Doral G7 fiasco and own Ukraine remarks * Nancy Pelosi visits Jordan to discuss Turkey Syria incursionMick Mulvaney in his news conference at the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPASenior Trump administration officials were on Sunday scrambling to defend the president from escalating domestic and foreign policy scandals, ranging from impeachment proceedings in Washington to the US troop withdrawal in northern Syria.Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was forced to row back comments he made earlier in the week acknowledging the administration withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to elicit assistance investigating Donald Trump’s political opponents.In a White House briefing on Thursday, Mulvaney listed “three issues” tied to the decision to withhold almost $400m in aid. These included “whether [Ukrainian officials] were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice” related to the origins of the inquiry into Russian interference in 2016 election, which Mulvaney linked to an unfounded conspiracy theory which says Ukraine was involved in the theft of emails from Democratic servers.Asked if that was tantamount to a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Mulvaney claimed his words had been misreported, stating he had not acknowledged a quid pro quo.> That’s what people are saying that I said, but I didn’t say that> > Mick Mulvaney“That’s what people are saying that I said, but I didn’t say that,” he said.But he had clearly changed his line, now stating there were only “two reasons” aid was withheld: “rampant corruption in Ukraine” and “whether or not other nations, specifically European nations, were helping with foreign aid to the Ukraine”.The existence of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine is at the centre of an impeachment inquiry led by Democrats in the House of Representatives.The committees involved are also investigating Trump’s request that the Ukrainain government commence an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The president made the request during a 25 July phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.Mulvaney has denied that the Biden request was tied to the decision to withhold aid.The acting chief of staff is under the spotlight in the impeachment inquiry after testimony from a state department official, George Kent, placed him at the centre of efforts to create a separate diplomatic channel to Ukraine staffed by Trump loyalists including outgoing energy secretary Rick Perry and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.Democrats are weighing up whether to summon Mulvaney, according to reports.Reports also emerged on Sunday that Mulvaney was facing ejection from his post before the impeachment inquiry began. CNN reported that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and other advisers began screening for new candidates last month.Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman, is the third White House chief of staff under Trump although he retains the “acting” prefix. He said on Sunday he had not considered tendering his resignation this week.“I’m very happy working there. Did I have the perfect press conference? No.” He said.The Ukraine scandal is only one of a number in which the administration is currently embroiled.On Saturday evening Trump was forced into an embarrassing climbdown, announcing his golf resort in Doral, Florida would no longer host the G7 summit next year following bi-partisan criticism of the decision.> At the end of the day he [Trump] still considers himself to be in the hospitality business> > Mick MulvaneyIn an attempt to defend the move, Mulvaney said: “At the end of the day he [Trump] still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”The administration is also reeling from bipartisan criticism of its decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.On Sunday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo sought to defend a fragile and brief ceasefire brokered with Turkey, which he described as “the outcome that President Trump sent us to achieve”.The US and Turkey reached an agreement on Thursday to halt Turkish operations against Kurdish forces for five days to allow military and civilians to evacuate an area of land around the border about 20 miles deep, before the territory is claimed by Turkey.An American soldier mounts the US flag on a vehicle near the town of Tel Tamr in northern Syria. Photograph: Baderkhan Ahmad/APBoth sides have accused the other of violating the agreement. Republicans and Democrats in Washington argue the deal has undermined US interests in the region and delivered a significant victory to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Pompeo, also at the centre of the Ukraine scandal, distanced himself from such criticisms during an interview with ABC’s This Week, when asked if the Turkish government had been handed everything it had asked for.“I was there. It sure didn’t feel that way when we were negotiating,” Pompeo said. “It was a hard-fought negotiation. It began before the vice-president and I even arrived in Ankara.”Trump chimed in on Twitter, quoting his defense secretary on how “the ceasefire is holding up very nicely”. In his first version of the tweet, the president typed Mark Esper’s name as Mark Esperanto.Later on Sunday he returned to the subject of impeachment, tweeting that the Ukraine whistleblower was a “fraud, just like the Russia Hoax”.> ....fiction to Congress and the American People? I demand his deposition. He is a fraud, just like the Russia Hoax was, and the Ukraine Hoax is now. When do the Do Nothing Democrats pay a price for what they are doing to our Country, & when do the Republicans finally fight back?> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019Over the weekend, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bipartisan delegation to Jordan to discuss the fallout of Trump’s troop withdrawal.“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement released on Saturday.“With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to Isis, Iran and Russia.”Despite the chaos over US Syria policy, one of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the Senate seemed to have abandoned his previously stringent criticism.Speaking to Fox News, Lindsey Graham said he was “increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right”.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 13:55:26 -0400
  • Pompeo, Graham Back Trump Approach to Turkey Syria Incursion

    (Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo led the defenders of President Donald Trump’s handling of Turkey’s incursion into Syria, saying Sunday that a cease-fire is holding and that U.S. goals in the Middle East are being met despite criticism allies are being betrayed.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a recent sharp critic of Trump’s Syria policy, also came around, saying the president was “thinking out of the box.” Earlier this month Graham suggested Trump’s withdrawal from northern Syria made him want to vomit.Pompeo said he received a report Sunday morning of “relatively little” fighting along the Syrian border after he and Vice President Mike Pence brokered a temporary cease-fire with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara last week. He insisted U.S. interests, including preventing ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in the region and a resurgence of Islamic State, or ISIS, are being served.“I’m very confident that this administration’s efforts to crush ISIS will continue,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” The comment came a day after Erdogan referred to “crushing the heads of terrorists” after the ceasefire ends Tuesday night. Parallel UniverseBut New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and others on the Sunday morning political shows called the administration’s actions a mistake that abandons the Kurds and other allies while bolstering Russia’s position in the Middle East.“I think the secretary lives in a parallel, alternative universe,” Menendez said on ABC.Former Army General David Petraeus said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the U.S. has abandoned its Syrian Kurdish partners, and called the U.S. actions “a grave, strategic mistake.”“This does not end an endless war,” he said, a reference to comments Trump has made about bringing U.S. troops home. “It probably prolongs it.”Critics say Trump gave Erdogan a green light to attack American-allied Kurdish militias, risking a resurgence of the Islamic State and a slaughter of the Kurds, by pulling U.S. troops out of Syria.Policy by TweetThe president often makes policy on the fly, said Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful. “What President Trump does is wake up in the morning and have a phone call or maybe a tweet and completely change years or even decades of U.S. policy, surprising his own generals and country,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party this year, said Trump knew what Turkey was going to do and can’t justify his response now.“You don’t wait ’till after withdrawing the troops to make a plan to go pressure Turkey to ease up and then call for a cease-fire,” Amash said on “Meet the Press.” “I think it’s very difficult to put it all back together.”Trump said in a tweet Sunday that the cease-fire is “holding up very nicely,” citing U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper -- whom he called “Mark Esperanto” before correcting the spelling after almost two hours.Esper said about 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State to prevent its resurgence, according to a transcript the Pentagon released of Esper’s comments to reporters on Saturday en route to Afghanistan.The defense secretary said the U.S. would continue to provide air cover for any of its operations in Syria, and that he intends to discuss the “next phase” of the mission to counter the Islamic State with U.S. allies. Esper said he’s spoken with his French counterpart and the NATO secretary-general, and there’s a meeting on it planned this week in Brussels.“That’s a top concern of mine, second only to protection of our forces coming out of Syria,” Esper said.Graham said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that he spoke with the president this weekend and now sees a “historic” result possible in Syria that protects oil interests.“President Trump is thinking outside the box,” Graham said. “I think we can end Syria successfully.”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in Jordan this weekend, leading bipartisan talks about Turkey’s incursion into Syria.‘Kangaroo Court’“With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement on Saturday.Pompeo, meanwhile, rejected accusations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine for political reasons, saying “I never saw that in the decision-making process that I was a part of.”He also said is “deeply unfair” that state department lawyers are not allowed into depositions that Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been holding in private as part of the impeachment inquiry into Trump.“This has been unfair in the Nth degree,” Pompeo said. “Adam Schiff ought to be embarrassed by the kangaroo court that he’s running.”Pompeo declined to answer questions about State Department officials testifying and controversies swirling around Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney. Asked whether he will appear if called by Congress, Pompeo said, “I’ll do everything I’m required to do by law.”Menendez said Pompeo and the State Department “have done everything humanly possible to impede, to obstruct and not to provide information,” and it’s clear that Trump tried to “extort” Ukraine in what he called the “weaponizing U.S. foreign assistance.”(Updates with Esper comments from 14th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Hailey Waller.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 13:48:38 -0400
  • European leaders ponder how to deal with British request for Brexit delay

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    European Union leaders are considering Boris Johnson's Brexit delay request and how to turn it to their own maximum advantage — though some are wondering if there’s any advantage left to gain. After the British parliament withheld approval on the new Brexit deal clinched Thursday with the EU, forcing the prime minister to ask for a short extension, Johnson on Saturday night complied and sent Brussels a request to delay the Oct. 31 deadline until Jan. 31, 2020. Johnson also sent a second letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, addressing him personally and by first name, to make clear that he is not happy about having been obliged to send the first letter, which he didn't sign.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 13:02:01 -0400
  • Kurds evacuate Syrian town in 1st pullout of cease-fire

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    Dozens of vehicles rolled out of a besieged Syrian border town, evacuating Kurdish fighters and civilians and opening the way for Turkish-backed forces to take over in the first pullback under a three-day-old U.S.-brokered cease-fire. Kurdish officials say the evacuation of the town of Ras al-Ayn will be followed by a withdrawal of their forces from a broader section of the border with Turkey, a central requirement of the cease-fire deal. Turkey says it wants a "safe zone" clear of the Kurdish fighters — whom it considers terrorists — across the entire northeast border.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:42:59 -0400
  • Lebanon Heads for Showdown as Reform Vows Fail to Quell Protests

    (Bloomberg) -- Lebanese officials were scrambling to finalize a plan to avert a financial meltdown as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets nationwide for a fourth straight day, demanding the ouster of a political class they blame for rampant corruption and worsening living standards.Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks with some of his coalition partners on Sunday, two days after he gave them 72 hours to back reforms to rebuild confidence. The plan envisages contributions from banks to help lower public debt servicing without raising taxes on citizens, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil said.The proposals also include imposing a “wealth tax” while leaving wages intact, Industry Minister Wael Abou Faour said.But those pledges have done little to end protests that broke out Thursday over a decision, later rescinded, to tax WhatsApp calls. Drone footage showed a sea of people marching through the upscale streets of downtown Beirut near Hariri’s headquarters.“What they’re offering now is too little too late,” said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute.Inequality, UnemploymentThe cause of Lebanon’s protests bears a striking resemblance to upheavals sweeping the region from Algeria to Iraq: rising inequality, growing unemployment and accusations that the elite have lined their pocket at the expense of the nation.But Lebanon’s sectarian politics and the influence of regional rivals such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with one of the world’s highest debt burdens, have made it harder for analysts to predict an easy way out.Gulf powers led by Saudi Arabia, dismayed at the unchecked influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah, have largely ignored Hariri’s pleas for aid. Hezbollah, a militant group with representatives in cabinet and parliament, has resisted calls to loosen its grip on power.The result was captured by one protester who spoke on local television to thank the ruling elite for uniting all sects “to demand their resignation. Leave!”Against this backdrop, banks said they’ll stay shuttered on Monday to repair damage from previous demonstrations in the hope that the government can take steps to restore stability.Four ministers from a major Christian party, the Lebanese Forces, stood down late Saturday, saying they had no faith in the government’s ability to deliver.Hezbollah and its allies, primarily the Free Patriotic Movement led by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, want to preserve the government, warning that the alternative would only lead to chaos. The Hezbollah coalition holds a majority in parliament and the cabinet.Observers doubt that the planned road map would ease tension on the streets given the magnitude of the demonstrations that have spread to regions known for their loyalty to political leaders such as the parliamentary speaker, Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah’s chief Hasan Nasrallah.Protesters have filled up the streets of the capital, insisting their demonstration is peaceful and nonsectarian and would continue until the fall of the government. Fistfights erupted in the southern town of Tyre and Aley in Mount Lebanon Saturday, where protesters clashed with supporters of Berri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.Berri, who has been house speaker for nearly 28 years, is the head of one of the largest Shiite parties in the country and is a longtime ally of Hezbollah. Some protesters say armed men tried to dispel protests in Tyre, with Berri’s party vowing to investigate the incident.“I love Berri but we want to eat. We are hungry. We are poor,” one protester said.To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Alaa Shahine, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:25:30 -0400
  • Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison

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    A group of Detroit-area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen, their war-torn native country. One by one, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined to send them to prison, despite guidelines that call for a few years or more behind bars. The Detroit area is believed to have the highest U.S. population of Yemenis, a demographic that has risen amid war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions more with food and health care shortages.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:22:54 -0400
  • The Latest: Kurdish fighters pull out of Syrian border town

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    A spokesman for the main Kurdish-led group in Syria says their fighters have evacuated the northern town of Ras al-Ayn, saying they have no armed presence there anymore. Kino Gabriel of the Syrian Democratic Forces said Sunday's evacuation was part of the agreement to pause military operations with Turkey with American mediation. The withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from Ras al-Ayn would open the way for them to leave a broader swath of territory along the Syria-Turkey border, as part of an agreement reached between the U.S. and Turkey.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:12:40 -0400
  • Burmese fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant

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    Sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer. The accidental drug haul off Burma's coastal Ayeyarwady region occurred when fishermen spotted a total of 23 sacks floating in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday. Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea - packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth to far-flung destinations including Japan, South Korea and Australia. Locals were mystified by the crystallised substance in the sacks, Zaw Win, a local official of the National League for Democracy party who assisted the fishermen and police, told AFP. At first, they assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma. "So they burned it, and some of them almost fainted," he said. They informed the police, who on Thursday combed a beach and found an additional two sacks of the same substance - bringing the total to 691 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) which would be worth about $20.2 million (£15.6m), Zaw Win said. "In my entire life and my parents' lifetime, we have never seen drugs floating in the ocean before," he said. The massive haul was sent on Sunday to Pyapon district police, who declined to comment on it. Burma's multi-billion-dollar drug industry is centred in eastern Shan state, whose poppy-covered hills are ideal cover for illicit production labs. Made-in-Burma crystal meth - better known as ice - is smuggled out of the country to more lucrative markets using routes carved out by narco gangs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year - a conservative estimate, according to experts - thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. In March, Burma authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, which police said at the time was their biggest drug haul this year.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:57:48 -0400
  • Pervasive Violence in 20th Week of Protests: Hong Kong Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protesters set off fires and vandalized subway stations, banks and stores as another weekend of demonstrations descended into destruction and violence.Organizers estimated at least 350,000 people took part in an unauthorized march that failed to get approval. Police used tear gas and water cannons to clear demonstrators who lingered to cause damage after the rally ended, and said it accidentally sprayed dyed water at the entrance of a mosque while trying to disperse protesters.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam after more than four months of demonstrations. Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature last week by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police.Here’s the latest (all times local):Xiaomi store fire (9 p.m.)A store of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. was set on fire, while the South China Morning Post reported a blaze at a branch of medicine shop Tong Ren Tang, which belongs to a mainland group. Firefighters were also seen putting out fires at an outlet of snack shop Best Mart 360, the paper said.Kowloon Mosque (8:30 p.m.)Police said it was “most unfortunate” that its dispersal operation of protesters caused an “unintended impact” of colored water being sprayed into the compound of Kowloon Mosque. Police contacted the mosque’s religious leader and other Muslim community chiefs to clarify the incident, according to a statement.Taiwan murder suspect (8:20 p.m.)Hong Kong’s government said Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a 2018 Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, made the decision to surrender himself to Taipei “out of his own free will.” Chan is currently imprisoned in Hong Kong for money laundering, and is about to be released, according to a statement.“We have conveyed to Taiwan clearly that we will be pleased to provide the necessary and legally feasible assistance to Taiwan,” according to the statement. “Should Taiwan raise any request for evidence in processing Chan’s surrender case, we will positively assist in accordance with our law.”Lam to visit Japan (5 p.m.)Lam will leave for Tokyo on Monday to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito, according to a statement from her office. She will return Tuesday evening.Two arrested (4:15 p.m.)Police arrested two men in Tai Po for alleged possession of offensive weapons. The suspects are aged 31 and 34, the police said in a briefing. Officers found 42 petrol bombs, materials for explosives and masks, among other things, they said.Water cannon deployed (4 p.m.)A police water cannon sprayed blue-dyed liquid at protesters as it drove down Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare through districts of Kowloon. Fire fighters were seen putting out blazing barricades in streets and fires in subway stations and banks.Protesters continued to try block off roads and hurled petrol bombs as police approached. Mobs vandalized stores in the area. They broke into one in Yau Ma Tei and dumped its merchandise on the floor. At least seven MTR stations were shut in Kowloon.Subway fires (3:15 p.m.)Protesters set fires in at least two subway-station entrances in Kowloon after the march reached its destination. Activists also barricaded roads and occupied carriageways. Police fired numerous rounds of tear gas to clear the crowds of demonstrators.MTR Corp., the city’s rail operator, closed three stations -- Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and East Tsim Sha Tsui -- after attacks on the facilities.March kicks off (1:30 p.m.)Thousands of people poured into the streets of the busy Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district in a march to West Kowloon’s high-speed rail station to mainland China, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away.Some marchers also defied a law prohibiting face masks as they made their way peacefully through the streets. Shopkeepers and business owners stood outside the iconic Chungking Mansions handing out bottled water to protesters.Police called on the public to leave the area immediately. Protesters are blocking carriageways and are taking part in an unauthorized assembly, police said in a statement.MTR canceled 16 high-speed trains to and from the mainland on Sunday because of signal failure, RTHK reported.The march followed a relatively peaceful day Saturday where the main event was a prayer gathering in Central that drew a couple of thousand people.Man arrested after stabbing (Sunday 6 a.m.)Police said they arrested a 22-year-old man for allegedly stabbing a teenager near a subway station in Tai Po on Saturday.The 19-year-old victim was slashed across the neck and stabbed in the abdomen by a so-called Lennon Tunnel while he was handing out leaflets, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.There was no dispute between the two, Lee, the victim’s friend said, according to RTHK. The attacker said to the victim: it’s you “guys turning Hong Kong into a mess,” RTHK quoted Lee as saying.“The police strongly condemn any acts of violence. Regardless of the motives or background, we will take every case seriously and carry out investigation actively,” the police said in the statement.March ban upheld (2:30 p.m.)Hong Kong protesters lost an appeal against the police ban of their planned march on Sunday through Tsim Sha Tsui on concern about violence, RTHK reported.On Friday night protesters formed human chains citywide, with everyone covering their faces in some way in defiance of the mask ban. People masqueraded as Disney characters, animals and super heroes, but the most popular mask was one of China President Xi Jinping. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi’s smiling face.Lam may reshuffle ExCo (1 p.m.)Lam said she would consider reorganizing the city’s Executive Council, its de facto Cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.The beleaguered leader of Hong Kong said on an RTHK radio program that she doesn’t “blindly” support the actions of each officer but fully supports the force in enforcing the law. She urged people to wait for a report from Independent Police Complaints Council into the recent clashes, RTHK said. Lam again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the latest coming from Chinese University’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan.Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Venus Feng in Hong Kong at vfeng7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley James, Shamim AdamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:57:00 -0400
  • Pelosi in Jordan for 'vital discussions' amid Syria crisis

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    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in Syria amid a shaky U.S.-brokered cease-fire. The visit came after bipartisan criticism in Washington has slammed President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the bulk of U.S. troops from northern Syria — clearing the way for Turkey's wide-ranging offensive against the Kurdish groups, who had been key U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey agreed on Thursday to suspend its offensive for five days, demanding the Kurdish forces withdraw from a designated strip of the border about 30 kilometers deep (19 miles).

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:21:30 -0400
  • 10 things you need to know today: October 20, 2019

    1.President Trump announced Saturday night that he is no longer planning to host the 2020 Group of Seven summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort near Miami, Florida. In a series of tweets Trump explained that his decision was the result of the backlash he received, a fair amount of which was centered around accusations of self-dealing corruption. Trump did not give up the plan lightly, however. In the tweetstorm, he blamed the media and the Democratic party for their "Crazed and Irrational Hostility" and maintained he thought he was "doing something very good for our Country" and was not seeking any profit. The president also said the White House will begin searching for another host site immediately, and Camp David, a presidential retreat in Maryland, is under consideration. [The Washington Post, The New York Times] 2.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday evening requesting another Brexit delay after Parliament passed an amendment requiring him to do so before voting on the deal he brokered with the EU on Thursday. Johnson reportedly included a second letter, which he did sign, saying that he believes a delay would be a mistake. EU Council President Donald Tusk confirmed the letter had arrived and said he would consult with other EU leaders on how to react. The British government insisted Sunday that Brexit will happen on Oct. 31 regardless of the letter Johnson sent, though opposition MPs have warned Johnson that if he tries to circumvent Parliament, he may find himself in court. Johnson has maintained he will move forward with his Brexit legislation next week. [BBC, Reuters.] 3.Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that all U.S. troops leaving Syria will be re-stationed in western Iraq where they will continue to conduct preventative operations against the Islamic State, and he did not rule out counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. The plan calls for about 1,000 troops to head to Iraq, adding to the more than 5,000 troops currently in the country. "Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that's the game plan right now," Esper said. The secretary added that he will talk with U.S. allies at a NATO meeting next week to discuss how to handle military operations to block any resurgence from ISIS. [NBC News, The Associated Press] 4.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East, on Saturday for an unannounced visit to discuss the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria with Jordan's King Abdullah II. "With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey's incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact of regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran, and Russia," Pelosi's office said in a statement. The delegation also reportedly touched on a broader range of topics including counterterrorism and security, the Middle East peace process, and economic development. [The New York Times, The Guardian] 5.Thousands of pro-democracy, anti-Beijing protesters gathered once again Sunday in Hong Kong to march in defiance of a police ban, marking the 20th consecutive of weekend of protests. After a peaceful start, the demonstrations grew increasingly violent throughout the day, and a group of protesters reportedly hurled petrol bombs at a police station. Some protesters reportedly used an electric chainsaw to cut down a CCTV camera, while others vandalized businesses. Meanwhile, Hong Kong police fired tear gas and also admitted in a statement that they accidentally fired a water cannon filled with colored water that affected the entrance of Hong Kong's Kowloon mosque, calling the incident "most unfortunate." [BBC, The South China Morning Post] 6.The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday accused Turkey of violating the cease-fire agreement orchestrated between Washington and Ankara on Thursday. The SDF said Turkish strikes killed at leas 20 civilians and 14 of its fighters in northern Syria since the deal was struck, though it reportedly couldn't be determined whether the strikes were carried out by Turkish forces or allied Syrian rebel groups. Kurdish forces also said Turkey was blocking their withdrawal from the border region. Turkish officials maintained Turkey was in compliance with the cease-fire and blamed the SDF and the YPG, a Kurdish militia, for launching multiple attacks against Turkish troops. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also warned Saturday that Ankara would move forward with its military offensive in northern Syria if the deal was not fully implemented. Light fighting reportedly resumed Sunday in a border town. [The Wall Street Journal, Reuters] 7.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held his first presidential rally since suffering a heart attack earlier this month, delivering a speech to an estimated 26,000-person crowd in Queens. If the numbers are accurate, it would serve as the largest crowd any Democratic presidential candidate has held this year, eclipsing the number of people who gathered to see Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speak in New York in September. "To put it bluntly," Sanders said, "I am back." He was joined on stage by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a popular progressive freshman congresswoman, who, as expected, officially endorsed Sanders for president at the rally. [Politico, The New Yorker] 8.Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) said Saturday he does not plan to run for re-election. Rooney said he accomplished his goals in Congress, namely getting money for Everglades projects and passing an offshore drilling ban to protect Florida. Rooney also said he wanted to be a "model for term limits" and that people need to realize "this is public service not public life." Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the announcement that he will likely retire from the House after he recently said he was still considering voting to impeach President Trump because he didn't think it was feasible to rule it out "until you know all the facts." [CNN, USA Today] 9.A bulletproof marker was reportedly dedicated Saturday to Emmett Till — a 14-year-old black teenager who was kidnapped, beaten, and lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman — after previous ones had been vandalized by gunfire. Members of Till's family, including one cousin who was present the night Till was kidnapped and is last living witness to the incident, attended the ceremony at the site where Till's body was pulled form the Tallahatchie River. Till's murder was a major catalyst of the civil rights movement, and the Justice Department reopened the investigation into his death last year after reportedly receiving new information. [CBS News, Fox News] 10.The Houston Astros are returning to the World Series for the second time in three seasons after defeating the New York Yankees, 6-4, in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. It was a tightly contested game, as both teams utilized their bullpens to the max. Houston jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the Yankees clawed their way back, eventually tying the game in the top of the 9th inning behind a two-run home run from first baseman D.J. LeMahieu. But Astros second baseman and the series' Most Valuable Player José Altuve launched a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom half of the inning off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to seal the series victory. Houston will host the National League Champion Washington Nationals in the World Series, which begins Tuesday. [ESPN, MLB.com]

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:50:00 -0400
  • Libya coast guard intercepts dozens of Europe-bound migrants

    Libya's coast guard says it's intercepted dozens of Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast. Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Sunday the migrants were returned to shore and would be taken to a detention center in the capital, Tripoli. Gassim said a rubber boat with 89 African migrants, including 16 women and two children, was stopped Saturday off Libya's western town of Khoms, around 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 08:02:54 -0400
  • EXPLAINER-What happens next after UK PM Johnson writes Brexit delay letter?

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned letter to the European Union requesting a delay to Britain's exit from the bloc, as well as a second note saying he did not want a "deeply corrosive" Brexit extension. Johnson was required by law to send the first letter, after parliament voted on Saturday to withhold its approval of his Brexit deal until it has passed legislation to formally ratify the agreement. Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the lower house of parliament, or House of Commons, said on Saturday the government planned to put Johnson's exit deal to a debate and vote on Monday.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 07:18:54 -0400
  • EU pursues Brexit ratification despite delay request

    Golocal247.com news

    Brussels officials on Sunday pressed on with plans to ratify the divorce deal as European leaders considered Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reluctant request for a Brexit delay. Ambassadors and senior officials from the other 27 member states met Sunday after British MPs forced Johnson to send EU Council president Donald Tusk a late request to postpone the withdrawal. "The EU is keeping all options open and has therefore initiated the ratification process so that it can be handed over to the European Parliament on Monday," an EU diplomat told AFP.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:58:30 -0400
  • Long-haul, fuel efficient jets underpin demand at Las Vegas air show

    Golocal247.com news

    New large corporate planes that can fly farther and an industry push toward sustainable aviation fuels are seen as bright spots as the world's biggest business jet makers assemble in Las Vegas to showcase their offerings at the sector's largest gathering. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual corporate aircraft show kicks off on Tuesday against a backdrop of slowing global economic growth, trade tensions between the United States and China and Brexit uncertainties, factors seen softening demand for corporate jets in the next two years, industry executives and analysts say. "We're optimistic but at the same time, in the short and medium term we have to be cautious,” said Gaetan Handfield, senior manager of marketing analysis for Honeywell Aerospace.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:14:53 -0400
  • This Really Is a Crunch Week for Brexit

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.It’s 11 days until the U.K. is due to shed its European Union membership and, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson so often says, “take back control.”Problem is, right now there’s no control. Headed into yet another “crunch” week for Brexit where anything could happen, the U.K. is careering towards a true crisis.A special sitting of parliament yesterday resulted in another defeat for Johnson. Lawmakers, stung by his repeated efforts to bypass them, slapped him with an amendment that required him to ask the EU to defer Brexit until Jan. 31. Johnson grudgingly sent that letter — unsigned — late in the evening. He sent another — this one he signed — arguing a further delay would be a mistake.There are two things to watch: whether the EU grants an extension (see more below on that) and the gyrations in the U.K. Parliament. Debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (which implements Brexit) could begin as soon as Tuesday, after the prime minister makes another attempt tomorrow to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal.It’s a massive gamble for a leader lacking a parliamentary majority. The whole thing will be decided by a handful of votes. Johnson will need all of his powers of persuasion and famous oratory wit. The ticking clock, and the desire among lawmakers to avoid a chaotic no-deal exit, might help him.In the incredible three-year soap opera of Brexit, the finale will be a cliff-hanger.Key HeadlinesNumber crunching | Lawmakers voted 322 to 306 to force Johnson to seek an extension — an insurance policy against a no-deal Brexit if there’s still no agreement by Oct. 31. He needs to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. Rob Hutton and Greg Ritchie crunched the numbers to conclude Johnson now has 62, based on what lawmakers said and did both in the debate before yesterday’s vote and during it.Click here for a look at how lawmakers voted on the extension amendment.The options | Everything in theory is still on the table. Johnson could get his deal through before Oct. 31. He might fail and negotiate more time with Brussels. He might fail and try and bypass parliament, triggering legal and other challenges. He might fail and try to crash out on Oct. 31 with no deal at all. He might decide to throw everything aside and call a snap election. If you're exhausted by it all, Sky News is offering Brits an escape from the drama with a new Brexit-free news channel.Europe's view | Many European officials oppose Brexit. “Our door will always remain open,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said last week after the deal with the EU was reached. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he doesn't think a delay should be granted, signaling frustration at how long this has dragged on. But the general feeling is the EU would prefer another delay to a chaotic no-deal exit. Tusk said last night he'll start consulting leaders on how to react, which may take a few days. A unanimous vote is needed to grant an extension.Read the in-the-room rundown of how Johnson got his agreement with Europe.Sticking point | The biggest obstacle to getting the deal through parliament is the historically fraught border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, set to become the only land crossing between the EU and the U.K. after Brexit. The plan agreed by EU negotiators would see a new type of border emerge not on land, but in the Irish Sea. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which wants to remain part of the U.K., says it can't support the plan.Business imperative | Some trade bodies had urged lawmakers to ratify the Brexit deal, simply to put an end to three years of uncertainty that have clouded their prospects and hampered investment plans. Passing it would trigger a transition period that preserves much of the current trading architecture. U.K. businesses see avoiding a no-deal exit as the overriding priority. Now the door has opened to an extension, which they may welcome.And finally....Hundreds of thousands marched through central London yesterday, converging on Westminster to call for a second referendum on leaving the EU. They sang songs, chanted “Object to Brexit” and waved EU and British flags. As it began to rain, Johnson’s defeat in the House of Commons was greeted with loud cheers outside. \--With assistance from Karl Maier.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at khunter9@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:59:27 -0400
  • UK opposition Labour's Starmer: Johnson should have sent one letter to EU

    Britain's opposition Labour Party said on Sunday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was behaving in a childish way by sending two letters to the European Union, one requesting a delay to Brexit and one saying he did not want an extension. Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer the party would put forward amendments to Johnson's Brexit deal legislation, particularly aimed at closing the "trap door" to no deal Brexit at the end of a transition period in December 2020. The law is very clear he should have signed one letter ... If we crash out, because of what he has done with the letters, in 11 days time without a deal he bears personal responsibility for that," Starmer told BBC television.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:20:52 -0400
  • British lawmaker Letwin says: PM Johnson will probably get Brexit deal through

    British lawmaker Oliver Letwin said on Sunday that he believed Prime Minister Boris Johnson could probably get his Brexit deal over the line. Letwin, who derailed Johnson's plans to pass an agreement on Saturday by putting forward an amendment which withheld approval of the deal until formal ratification legislation has passed, said he would propose no more amendments this week. "I am absolutely behind the government now as long as they continue with this bill, continue with the deal, I will support it, I will vote for it," Letwin told BBC television.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:13:50 -0400
  • Gove Says EU Granting Extension Not a Sure Thing: Brexit Update

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Parliament voted Saturday for Boris Johnson to request a further delay to Brexit. The prime minister will introduce the legislation needed this week for the U.K. to leave the European Union on Oct. 31. The parliamentary rejection on Saturday increases the risk that the U.K. will crash out of the trading bloc without an agreement, a senior cabinet minister said.Key DevelopmentsJohnson sends letter to Brussels formally asking the European Union to delay Brexit until Jan. 31, as stipulated by law, but made it clear he’d rather there was no extensionMove came after MPs voted by 322 to 306 for Letwin amendment forcing government to request Brexit delayEuropean Council President Donald Tusk to consult EU leaders on how to reactJohnson could yet deliver on pledge to get Britain out of the EU by the end of the month, an analysis of Saturday’s vote reveals.Johnson Has Support to Pass Brexit Deal (9:45 a.m.)Michael Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, said Johnson has the support to win a vote on the Brexit deal he negotiated with the EU but the government was making preparation in case the U.K. crashes out without a deal. Should Parliament reject the Johnson deal in a vote expected this week there might not be any extension to the Oct. 31 deadline, Gove said on Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday.”“If we don’t back this deal, then the risk is that the European Council may not grant an extension,” he said. “We can’t bet on that. It’s not a sure thing.”The government is relying on lawmakers such as Amber Rudd, a former cabinet minister, who backed the Letwin amendment but says she will support the deal this week. “We do want to leave with a deal and this deal from the prime minister is good enough for me,” she said.Rudd, who walked out of the government and quit the Tory whip in protest at the expulsion of 21 colleagues, said she expected many of that group would also back the deal.Why the Delay, Foreign Secretary Asks? (9:44 a.m.)Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the numbers appear to exist in Parliament to get the deal passed, so the question is “why aren’t we getting on with it?’’“The whole economy will get a boost, the rancor will come out of the debate,’’ he told the Andrew Marr show on BBC TV.Labour Pushing for Second Referendum (9:33 a.m.)Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the the Labour opposition, said any deal needs to be subject to a second referendum with an option to remain in the EU. “We’ll have to see tactically how we get there,” he told BBC TV’s “Andrew Marr Show” Sunday.Labour will table amendments to the Brexit bill covering issues such as the environment and workers’ rights, and it was inevitable that a second-referendum amendment would emerge, probably from the beckbenches, he said.EU Ambassadors Fail to Discuss Delay Request (9:08 a.m.)EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels Sunday morning did not discuss Johnson’s Brexit delay request. The meeting had been scheduled to work out the EU approval process once Parliament had signed off on the deal, which it failed to do on Saturday.Former BOE Governor Dismisses Economic Forecasts (9 a.m.)Former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King expressed his frustration that Brexit remains unresolved, saying the feeling among the British public is “just do it.” Brexit, he said, has provoked a political and constitutional crisis, but leaving the EU is unlikely to have a “major” impact of the British economy longer term either way, he said in a Sky interview shown Sunday.“It’s a mistake to try and map out a particular deal into precise numbers,” he said of forecasts that Britain will be significantly worse off outside the EU. “A lot of bogus quantification has gone on to try to justify positions.”Farage Prefers General Election to “Rotten Deal” (8:50 a.m.)Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he’d rather Brexit was extended and a general election held than see Johnson’s “rotten deal” being passed in Parliament.“An extension for a few weeks into which we can have a general election is a much better outcome than signing up to a treaty that becomes part of international law that binds us in foreign policy and in many, many other areas,” he told Sophy Ridge.Is Johnson in Contempt of Parliament? (8:33 a.m.)Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for the Labour Party said Johnson may be in contempt of Parliament because the prime minister refused to personally sign the letter sent to Brussels requesting a Brexit extension. Speaking on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, he accused Johnson of “behaving a bit like a spoilt brat”Earlier:Johnson Asks EU for Brexit Delay, But Hopes He Won’t Need It (2)Johnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the VotesTo contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:07:37 -0400
  • Britain's Raab: we have the numbers to pass a Brexit deal

    British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government seemed to have the numbers in the House of Commons to pass Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal. Raab said he was confident the United Kingdom would leave the EU on Oct. 31.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:57:38 -0400
  • UK is going to leave the EU by Oct. 31 - Gove says

    Brexit will happen by October 31, British government minister Michael Gove said on Sunday, despite lawmakers forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to send a letter on Saturday to the EU requesting a delay. "We are going to leave by October 31, we have the means and the ability to do so," Gove, the minister is in charge of no deal Brexit preparations, told Sky News.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:56:04 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-UK's Labour will try to amend Brexit deal legislation

    Britain's opposition Labour Party will try to amend legislation to ratify Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, the party's finance spokesman John McDonnell said on Sunday. "We'll be moving amendments and see whether or not we can get some form of agreement through the House of Commons that's then acceptable," McDonnell told Sky News, citing issues Labour wants to see included such as protection of workers' rights. McDonnell said Johnson's decision to send an unsigned letter to the EU requesting a delay to Brexit as well as another note in which he explained that he did not want a "deeply corrosive" extension could put him in contempt of court.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:34:33 -0400
  • Brexit delay and election better than PM Johnson's deal - Farage

    Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said on Sunday a short delay to Brexit in order to hold a national election would be better than accepting Prime Minister Boris Johnson's deal. "I want to leave on the 31 of October, but I'll warn everybody that if this treaty goes through nothing will have changed at all, and I think far better to have a short delay and a general election where we might solve this," Farage told Sky News, adding that Johnson's deal was "rotten" and "not Brexit".

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:05:33 -0400
  • Defense chief: US troops leaving Syria to go to western Iraq

    Golocal247.com news

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence. Speaking to reporters traveling with him to the Middle East, Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. Esper said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 00:11:19 -0400
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