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  • Brexit Deal Inches Nearer as Key Boris Johnson Ally Threatens Hold-Out

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- U.K. and European Union officials edged closer to a last-minute Brexit deal -- but it risks being jeopardized by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Northern Irish allies.Talks will resume in Brussels on Wednesday after dragging on late into the night, according to an EU official. Britain and the EU have hammered out most of their differences over the past 48 hours.Getting a deal signed off in Brussels is just the first hurdle for Johnson. His biggest obstacle is back home. There, he will need to persuade the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up his minority administration, as well as hard-liners in his own Conservative Party to back his plan. A Brexit deal has been struck before: Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May clinched a deal with the EU, only for it to be shot down three times in Parliament.This time, EU officials say Johnson won’t give the green light to a deal unless he is sure the DUP will back it. Party leader Arlene Foster spoke with Johnson for 90 minutes on Tuesday. Afterward, she issued a terse statement saying: “It would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.”According to EU officials, Britain has made several big concessions in recent days to secure a deal, including accepting there will be customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. -- something vehemently opposed by the DUP.While Foster’s party accounts for only 10 members of Parliament, several MPs in Johnson’s Conservatives have indicated they would only back an agreement that has the DUP’s support. But there were signs on Tuesday that they are falling into line after discussions with Johnson.“I’m happy to say it was a very constructive conversation,” Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, told reporters as he left Downing Street. “I’m optimistic it is possible to reach a tolerable deal which I will be able to vote for.”A deal would end three years of political turmoil since the U.K. voted to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc. The journey has tested its relationship with historic allies, soured the political debate back home, and tested the patience of voters. Fatigue has set in, and both sides want to move on.“The initial indications are that we are making progress,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told reporters in Dublin on Tuesday. “The negotiations are moving in the right direction.”While there is palpable optimism that the finishing line is approaching, officials are extremely cautious. Throughout the Brexit talks, which started in July 2017, negotiators have got used to striking deals only for them to be shot down by the British government, the DUP or the U.K. Parliament.Johnson hopes to put a deal to the vote in a special sitting of the House of Commons on Saturday so he can meet his Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the bloc.Securing the DUP’s support may not be easy because the emerging proposal looks similar to May’s Northern Ireland “backstop” -- a measure that would keep the province in the EU customs union to avoid the need for border checks.Red LinesThe party needs “a deal that respects Northern Ireland’s constitutional position as per the Belfast Agreement within the U.K. and indeed respects the economic integrity of the U.K. single market,” Foster said in an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE. She suggested that such a backstop would be unacceptable and that “things are very far off the mark in terms of all of that.”Johnson’s plan focuses on keeping Northern Ireland in the U.K.’s customs union so that it can benefit from any trade deals Britain strikes after Brexit. But to avoid customs checks at the Irish border, the province would stick to EU customs rules. That means goods traveling from the rest of the U.K. to Northern Ireland would be subject to customs checks.Negotiators have been looking at ways to reimburse Northern Irish businesses in case EU tariffs are higher than U.K. ones and how to avoid goods fraudulently traveling to the EU through Northern Ireland.One diplomat said there’s a chance the two sides may not conclude the talks tonight, but they could still make sufficient progress for a “concept” of a legal text to be presented at the summit. This wouldn’t be a fully ready deal, but its main principles would be clearly outlined, according to the official.In that case, it is possible that the leaders will decide that negotiations can continue after the summit. But some fear that a delay would kill the current momentum in the talks.To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, Flavia Krause-JacksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 16 Oct 2019 01:13:11 -0400
  • Campaign: Warren's call to exit Mideast means combat troops

    Golocal247.com news

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's call Tuesday night for the United States to "get out" of the Middle East, if implemented, would end a generations-long U.S. military presence in the volatile region. "I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East," Warren said in a Democratic presidential debate during a discussion of President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria. "I don't think we should have troops in the Middle East," she added.

    Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:50:33 -0400
  • China Threatens to Retaliate If U.S. Enacts Hong Kong Bill

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    (Bloomberg) -- China threatened unspecified “strong countermeasures” if the U.S. Congress enacts legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters, in a sign of the deepening strain between the world’s two largest economies as they attempt to seal a trade deal.China’s foreign ministry issued the warning Wednesday after the U.S. House passed a package of measures backing a pro-democracy movement that has rocked the former British colony for more than four months. Among them was the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which subjects the city’s special U.S. trading status to annual reviews and provides for sanctions against officials deemed responsible for undermining its “fundamental freedoms and autonomy.”While the legislation must also pass the U.S. Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump to become law, it already has strong bipartisan support in the Republican-run upper chamber. The Hong Kong measures was passed by the Democrat-controlled House by unanimous voice votes Tuesday.Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang warned American lawmakers to stop meddling in China’s internal affairs “before falling off the edge of the cliff,” without specifying how it would retaliate. The House action “fully exposes the shocking hypocrisy of some in the U.S. on human rights and democracy and their malicious intention to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability to contain China’s development,” Geng said.The threat dented investor appetite for risk, with S&P 500 Index futures slipping 0.2%. The offshore yuan also dropped as much as 0.3% to 7.1049 against the dollar after the statement.Both Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have so far prevented the international uproar over Hong Kong from scuttling their trade talks. The two sides went ahead with negotiations and reached some broad agreements last week, even though the House vote was widely expected at the time.“I don’t think this will undermine the prospect of signing a partial deal next month,” said Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China’s cabinet and founder of the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing. “The Hong Kong bill is not a done deal and there is still room for redemption.”A spokesman for the Hong Kong government “expressed regret” over the House action, which came hours before Chief Executive Carrie Lam was slated to deliver her annual policy address. Earlier this week, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Hong Kong’s central district urging the legislation’s passage as sign of international support, many of them waving American flags.U.S. lawmakers have embraced the Hong Kong protesters’ cause as the yearlong trade war fuels American support for pushing back against China, and they have hosted some of the city’s activists on Capitol Hill in recent weeks. The National Basketball Association’s struggle to manage Chinese backlash against a Houston Rockets executive’s support for the movement has only focused wider attention on the debate.On Tuesday, the House passed H.Res. 543, a resolution reaffirming the relationship between the U.S. and Hong Kong, condemning Chinese interference in the region and voicing support for protesters. Lawmakers also passed the Protect Hong Kong Act, H.R. 4270, which would halt the export to Hong Kong of crowd-control devices such as tear gas and rubber bullets.Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican and a sponsor of the main Hong Kong bill, predicted that the Senate would pass the legislation and dismissed the threats from Beijing.“Retaliation, that’s all they ever talk,” Smith told Bloomberg TV. “They try to browbeat and cower people, countries, presidents, prime ministers and the like all over in order to get them to back off. We believe that human rights are so elemental, and so in need of protection. And that’s why the students and the young people are out in the streets in Hong Kong virtually every day.”In addition, the House adopted a resolution by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of New York and the panel’s top Republican, Michael McCaul of Texas, urging Canada to start U.S. extradition proceedings against Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou. The resolution, H.Res. 521, also calls for the release of two Canadians detained in China and due process for a third sentenced to death for drug smuggling.Republican Senators Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri visited Hong Kong over the two-week congressional recess that ended Tuesday. Hawley met with local pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and got into a back-and-forth with Lam over whether Hong Kong is a becoming a “police state.”The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ local branch in the city issued a separate statement warning the U.S. against “playing the Hong Kong card.” “They are lifting the stone only to drop it on their own feet,” it said.David Zweig, an emeritus professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and director of Transnational China Consulting Ltd., noted that the U.S. legislation stopped short of altering the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which provides the city’s special trading status. So both the bill and any Chinese retaliation would have limited impact.“China needs to posture with a retaliation of some kind,” Zweig said. “But this is really a secondary issue as long as they keep the Hong Kong Policy Act intact. The House could have gone much further with the Hong Kong Policy Act. And they didn’t.”\--With assistance from Li Liu, Sofia Horta e Costa, Tan Hwee Ann and Anna Edgerton.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, ;Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:00:16 -0400
  • Biden warns Isis fighters will strike US over Syria withdrawal

    Golocal247.com news

    Former vice-president said at Democratic debate ‘they are going to damage’ the US and blasted Trump for abandoning Kurdish alliesJoe Biden speaks at the Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, on 15 October. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/ReutersThe former US vice-president Joe Biden warned during a Democratic debate on Tuesday night that Islamic State fighters would strike the US as a result of Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of American forces in northern Syria.“We have Isis that’s going to come here,” Biden said. “They are going to damage the United States of America. That’s why we got involved in the first place.”An invasion of north-eastern Syria by Turkey last week after Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces on Twitter has resulted in numerous reports of detained Isis fighters breaking out of – or simply walking away from – prisons where they had been held by Kurdish fighters formerly allied with the US who are now under attack from Turkish forces.Biden also warned that he believed if Trump were re-elected in November 2020, “there will be no Nato”.The architects of the so-called “war on terror”, and especially the Republican backers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an expansive US presence in the Middle East, have long warned that the US must intervene abroad in order to prevent attacks at home.Questioned on Friday about a potential risk posed by Isis fighters freed amid the Syrian turmoil, Trump said it was Europe’s problem.“Well, they are going to be escaping to Europe, that’s where they want to go,” he said. “They want to go back to their homes.”Multiple Democratic candidates at the primary debate in Ohio condemned what they called Trump’s betrayal of American allies in the region.“I’d like to hear from him about how leaving the Kurds for slaughter, leaving our allies for slaughter, makes America great again,” the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar said.But it was Biden, the longtime chairman of the foreign relations committee during his Senate days, who offered the most scathing assessment of Trump’s foreign policy – and presented the most alarming picture of its potential consequences.Biden noted that he was the only candidate on stage to have dealt personally with both Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.“Erdoğan understands that if he is out of Nato, he is in real trouble,” Biden said. “But we have an erratic crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy and operates only [to advance] his own re-election.“If he gets re-elected,” Biden continued, “I promise you there will be no Nato, our security will be vastly underrated, we will be in real trouble.”Biden blasted Trump for abandoning Kurdish allies in northern Syria. “It has been the most shameful thing that any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy,” he said. “This is shameful, shameful, what this man has done.”In his closing statement, Biden returned once more to attacking Trump: “This president has ripped the soul out of this country.”In another fiery exchange, the two veterans on the stage – Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and the Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard – clashed over Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, which paved the way for a Turkish military assault on Syrian Kurds.Gabbard, who has been sharply criticized over a meeting with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, accused Trump of having the “blood of the Kurds on his hands” but she continued: “So do many of the politicians in both parties who supported this regime change war.”Buttigieg shot back that she was “dead wrong”.“You can put an end to endless war without embracing Donald Trump’s policy, as you’re doing,” he said.Lauren Gambino contributed reporting

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 23:57:29 -0400
  • Winners and losers in the Democratic debate from columnist Glenn Harlan Reynolds

    Golocal247.com news

    Vladimir Putin was among the surprise losers of the latest Democratic debate. Liberals now admit Russia is a foe.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 23:43:51 -0400
  • EU, UK seen closing in on 'possible' Brexit text

    Golocal247.com news

    Brussels hopes to wake up to a Brexit breakthrough Wednesday as EU and British negotiators worked hard through the night on a draft agreement. The pound hit its highest level in five months after both sides voiced cautious optimism that an outline agreement could be found before Thursday's key European summit. Any deal would still have to go to EU leaders at that summit and then be voted on by a sceptical British parliament -- perhaps as early as during a special session on Saturday.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 22:54:03 -0400
  • Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders share a jovial hug on the Democratic debate stage

    Presidential debates can be tense, to say the least, especially during primaries when friends can wind up pitted against each other. So there's always room for moments of levity. And during Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate in Westerville, Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden -- who are generally of different persuasions on a number of issues -- delivered a brief, but delightful moment on stage.Biden was railing against President Trump's foreign policy, particularly the trust he places in Russian President Vladimir Putin when, while gesticulating, he pointed toward Sanders as he said Putin's name. Sanders' wit kicked in, as he joked that Biden was suggesting he was Putin, leading to a good chuckle from the audience while the two candidates hugged it out. > A light-hearted moment between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on stage draws laughs from the debate audience: > > Biden, gesturing: "He says, 'I believe Vladimir Putin -- '" > > Sanders next to him: "Suggesting I'm Vladimir Putin here?"DemDebate pic.twitter.com/yRaDFPKGAy> > -- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 16, 2019

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 21:58:00 -0400
  • Biden warns Trump's re-election will bring the end of NATO

    If President Trump is re-elected, the 29-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will be a thing of the past, former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday night.Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to break NATO up, and Trump is playing right into his hands by saying he believes Putin's claim that he did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election over the assessment of his own intelligence community, Biden said. The fact is, "we have an erratic, crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy," he continued, and "operates out of fear for his own re-election."NATO's Article 5 states that an attack on one member is an attack on all of them, and Trump has questioned whether or not he'll "keep that sacred commitment," Biden said. "If he is re-elected, I promise you, there will be no NATO. Our security will be vastly underrated, we'll be in real trouble."

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 21:56:23 -0400
  • UN: 200 million children under 5 eat too little or too much

    One-third of children worldwide under age 5 — about 200 million youngsters — are either undernourished or overweight, undermining their full potential to grow and develop, the U.N. children's agency said in a report Tuesday. UNICEF also said almost two-thirds of children aged 6 months to 2 years are not fed food that supports their rapidly growing bodies and brains. In its annual report, UNICEF warns that poor eating and feeding practices start from the earliest days of a child's life.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 21:04:50 -0400
  • In Syria, Russia Pleased to Fill an American Void

    DOHUK, Iraq -- Russia asserted itself in a long-contested part of Syria on Tuesday after the United States pulled out, giving Moscow a new opportunity to press for Syrian army gains and project itself as a rising power broker in the Middle East.Russian and Syrian troops drove through a key town where the United States had held sway and picked over abandoned American outposts to announce their presence in the area and deter the Turkish incursion that began last week.The Russian advance, enabled by President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw, may boost Russia's Syrian ally, President Bashar Assad, while blunting the Turkish incursion. It was a telling demonstration of how influence over the 8-year-old conflict in Syria has shifted from the United States to Russia. But in this case, there appeared to be little balance left in the Americans' favor."Look at how they were preparing the base," a Russian-speaking reporter said in a video shot inside an abandoned American outpost in northeastern Syria, its water tanks, communication towers, tents and fridges full of soda all left behind. "They thought they were going to be here for a long time."The abrupt order by Trump to remove U.S. military personnel from the area set off days of violence that sent more than 150,000 civilians fleeing, shattered the American partnership with Syria's Kurds, raised fears about an Islamic State revival and allowed Assad's troops, backed by their Russian allies, to sweep up new territory without a fight.Pentagon concern about the safety of the departing U.S. forces amid the chaos in northern Syria intensified, as seen in a low-flying buzz of a Turkish-backed militia on Tuesday by American Apache helicopter gunships. The militia was about 4 miles from the Americans at the time of the incident, which was first reported by Fox News and confirmed by a U.S. military official.It remained unclear on Tuesday whether President Vladimir Putin of Russia intended to keep his forces in the area indefinitely. But for Russia, the reshuffling of northeastern Syria, which had in recent years been a virtual American protectorate, yielded two main benefits. It empowered Assad, a longtime Russian patron, to accelerate his quest to regain control of all of Syria's territory, and gave Putin another place to advertise Russia as a good friend to have in the Middle East."What's happening now is a very complicated knot being untied," said Alexander Shumilin, a Middle East specialist at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. "This is an unexpected gift for Putin."As the United States has sought to reduce its commitments across the region, Putin has increasingly cast Russia as a worthy alternative. On Tuesday, as U.S. troops were leaving their bases near the Syrian town of Manbij, Putin was on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates after a trip to Saudi Arabia the day before.Both are longtime American allies that have begun questioning the United States' commitment to their security and looking to diversify their international partnerships."I think of Russia as my second home," Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the Emirates, told Putin. "We are connected by a deep strategic relationship."Throughout the war in Syria, Russia has been Assad's most loyal foreign backer, protecting him from sanctions by the United Nations and sending Russian troops to support his forces and jets to bomb his enemies.As of last month, Russia's assistance had helped restore Assad's control over most of Syria, the largest exception being the northeast, where the United States had partnered with a Kurdish-led militia to fight the Islamic State and had maintained a contingent of about 1,000 troops, in part to keep Assad away.But that changed last Wednesday when Turkey launched its military incursion, setting off new violence that sent U.S. troops scrambling to get out of the way. Feeling betrayed by the Americans, the Kurds made a deal with Assad that would put his army along the Turkish border.The United States has begun moving its troops onto bases elsewhere in Syria as the first stage in a near total withdrawal from the country.On Tuesday, the United States and its international allies used a single tweet to announce their departure from Manbij, a contested area where they had sought to prevent fighting between their Kurdish-led militia allies and Syrian fighters backed by Turkey."Coalition forces are executing a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria," Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the coalition, wrote. "We are out of Manbij."Syrian government forces soon drove through town with tanks and Russian military vehicles, residents said, before digging through nearby outposts and expressing surprise at how much the Americans had left behind."I am on an American base where they were just yesterday morning, and this morning we're here," Oleg Blokhin, a pro-Kremlin reporter embedded with Russian troops in Syria, said in a video on his Facebook page. "Now we'll take a look at how they lived, what they were doing."Another video posted by Anna News, a pro-Kremlin outlet, declared "Manbij is ours!" and gave a virtual tour of the base. A wireless router sat on a desk and cables hung from an office ceiling. A tube of Pringles and a bag of animal crackers lay on a table. A military canteen was stockpiled with boxes of cereal, multiple bags of bagels and four fridges full of soda and juice boxes.A post on the outlet's Telegram channel observed that "the Americans packed so quickly that they left behind some of their property and personal items." A photo showed a door marked "Emergency Exit."Throughout the war, Russia has used means ranging from military force to creative diplomacy to make itself a central player in Syria -- at the expense of the United States. In 2015, it dispatched forces to help Assad by heavily bombing his rebel enemies, turning the overall battle in his favor and away from the opposition supported by the United States. The Russians have repeatedly blunted Western attempts to hold Assad's government accountable for using banned chemical weapons.And to steer diplomacy away from U.N. peace talks the West hoped would remove Assad, Russia opened an alternative track with Iran and Turkey that sidelined Western nations.Shumilin, the analyst, said Russia also had found ways to benefit from Western missteps."It must be said that all of Russia's most significant successes in Syria have not been reached as a result of deliberate efforts by Moscow," he said. "They simply crashed down onto Putin and Moscow as manna from heaven as a result of the peculiar behavior of the Western countries and of Turkey."Putin had also hoped to use Syria in the service of a broader geopolitical goal: to strengthen ties with Turkey and pull it away from NATO."Turkey's operation drives the wedge even deeper between Turkey and NATO," Shumilin said. "That is even more important for Putin."The Kremlin said in a statement Tuesday night that Putin had spoken by phone with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who accepted the Russian leader's invitation to visit Russia in coming days. The statement also said Putin had stressed the importance of "avoiding conflict between subdivisions of the Turkish army and Syrian government forces."The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that its military police were patrolling the northwestern borders of the Manbij area to avert clashes between Syrian government troops and Turkish-led forces who were also set on seizing the district.Russia's special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said during Putin's visit to Abu Dhabi that Russia and Turkey were in contact to prevent such clashes -- a role previously played by the United States.Lavrentiev also said Russia was facilitating talks between Assad's government and the United States' erstwhile allies, the Kurdish-led militia."If this trend prevails, it will be a big step toward the restoration of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Syria," he said.Despite an agreement with the Syrian Kurds that would put Syrian government troops on the border with Turkey, they stayed clear of the border region near Ras al-Ain, where Syrian Kurdish troops were fighting alone.The agreement with Damascus comes at great cost to the Kurdish authorities, who are effectively relinquishing self-rule.Syrian Kurdish militias established autonomy in northern Syria in 2012, when the chaos of the Syrian civil war gave them the opportunity to create a sliver of independent territory free from the central government.The fighters greatly expanded their territory after they partnered with a military coalition led by the United States to push the Islamic State group from the area.After the Kurdish-led fighters captured Islamic State territory, they assumed responsibility for its governance, eventually controlling roughly a quarter of Syria. They also guard thousands of Islamic State fighters in prisons and tens of thousands of their relatives in squalid camps.The fighting has raised questions about who will ultimately take charge of these people and what will be done with them.The Kurds' control of the land in Syria enraged Turkey, since the militia is an offshoot of a anti-Turkish guerrilla group that has waged a decadeslong insurgency. Turkey had pressed the United States to abandon its alliance with Kurdish fighters, but Washington rebuffed Turkey's requests for years.That all changed last week, when Trump made a sudden decision to withdraw troops -- first from the pathway of the Turkish incursion, and later from all of northeastern Syria.Turkey's actions have angered the West. Britain paused arms sales to Turkey on Tuesday, one day after all 28 European Union member states agreed to do so. It was the first time the bloc had reached such a decision about a NATO ally.But Erdogan has made clear he will resist pressure to halt the offensive, which has also included the threat of new sanctions by Trump. Turkey's NTV television reported Tuesday night that Erdogan told Trump he would never declare a cease-fire in northeast Syria and was not concerned about sanctions.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 20:59:37 -0400
  • The Latest: Pelosi says 'all roads seem to lead to Putin'

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    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says "all roads seem to lead to Putin" when it comes to President Donald Trump. The California Democrat told reporters Tuesday that nevertheless, she's not going to call for a formal House vote on impeachment.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 20:11:31 -0400
  • Rights groups call on Egypt authorities to free journalist

    The Committee to Protect Journalists and Amnesty International are calling for the Egyptian government to release a journalist who they say has been detained by security officials, and investigate allegations that she has been beaten and tortured in custody. The groups said Esraa Abdel Fattah, a writer and human rights activist who works on the Tahrir News website, was taken from her car by security officers Sunday in a city west of Cairo. "Egyptian authorities must immediately free Esraa Abdel Fattah, drop all charges against her, and conduct a speedy and transparent investigation into allegations that she was tortured by security forces," said Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa coordinator for CPJ.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:30:00 -0400
  • Nancy Pelosi On Impeachment: 'All Roads Seem To Lead To Putin'

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    The House speaker linked Russian President Vladimir Putin with President Donald Trump during a news conference.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:27:58 -0400
  • Turkey’s Halkbank Faces U.S. Charges as Tensions Mount

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. brought a criminal case against one of Turkey’s largest banks for aiding a scheme to evade sanctions against Iran, a move that carries political overtones as tensions build over Turkey’s military incursions in Syria.In an indictment filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors accused government-owned Halkbank of participating in a wide-ranging plot to violate prohibitions on Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system. The conspiracy involved high-ranking government officials in Iran and Turkey, the U.S. said.“Halkbank’s systemic participation in the illicit movement of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil revenue was designed and executed by senior bank officials,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in New York said in a statement. “Halkbank will now have to answer for its conduct in an American court.”The Turkish lira fell almost 1% after the charges were announced. It’s down 4.5% so far this month, more than any of the 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.A Halkbank representative didn’t immediately respond to a text seeking comment.The charges in the years-long case were described by a U.S. official as a frontal assault on Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Because of the timing, there’s a risk the prosecution will be perceived as a political attack by the U.S. on Turkey for its aggression, the official added.Click here to read the press release and indictmentTwo people, including a senior Halkbank executive, were previously convicted in the case, which led to the airing in a Manhattan courtroom of many of Halkbank’s activities. The late-2017 trial sparked vehement protests from Erdogan, who accused U.S. officials of trying to harm his country’s national and economic interests. He labeled the prosecution nothing short of an “international coup attempt.”The case became a lasting irritant for the Turkish president, who pressed both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump to intervene and dismiss it. Early in Trump’s term, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was hired by the central figure in the case, and he mounted an audacious shadow diplomacy effort to win his client’s freedom. On Giuliani’s behalf, Trump himself asked a member of his cabinet to steer prosecutors away from the case.Several months after the trial of the senior Halkbank executive ended, U.S. officials began negotiating a potential penalty with the bank. But no settlement was announced, and the broader case seemed to go dormant. Read More: U.S. Inquiry Into Turkey’s Halkbank Inflamed Erdogan, Then Went QuietThen Trump announced last week that the U.S. was withdrawing its forces from the border with Syria, and Turkey mounted a military campaign to take over the region. Trump’s decision was roundly criticized by Congress and other foreign leaders, and images from the battlefield inflamed public opinion. Trump then demanded Turkey withdraw its forces, and in a cryptic tweet threatened to “destroy” Turkey’s economy.Secretly LaunderThe case began with U.S. charges against Reza Zarrab, a flamboyant Turkish gold trader who said he’d helped Iran tap funds from overseas oil sales that were frozen in foreign accounts. Zarrab ultimately pleaded guilty and became the star witness against the bank executive, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was himself convicted at the trial in early 2018.Though the bank wasn’t initially charged, U.S. prosecutors claimed it became the nucleus of a plot to secretly launder funds out of Turkey to Dubai. There, money could be moved into the global financial system and made available to help pay Iran’s bills. Prosecutors showed how Iranian funds were converted to gold, exported to Dubai, sold for cash and then distributed for Iran’s benefit. About $1 billion was converted into U.S. dollars and moved through banks in New York, the U.S. said at the trial.The trial gripped Turkey. Some testimony sent its markets into gyrations, in part because prosecutors aired evidence that tied the scheme to Turkish officials and their families. An ex-finance minister was charged in absentia.Zarrab, who’s married to a Turkish pop star, had a tabloid lifestyle of yachts, fast cars and an office in a Trump Tower in Istanbul. After he was detained during a 2016 trip to the U.S., he added Giuliani, who was Trump’s confidante but not yet the president’s lawyer, to his legal team.Giuliani attempted to broker a diplomatic deal with Turkey to extract Zarrab from U.S. custody, trying to swap him for an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was in Turkish custody.Press JusticeThen, at Giuliani’s urging, Trump asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the second half of 2017 to press the Justice Department to drop its case against Zarrab, Bloomberg News reported last week.Giuliani didn’t immediately have a comment on the charges and asked in a text, “What is Halk Bank?”In an interview last week, he said he talked to the State Department about his role as Zarrab’s lawyer and had behaved ethically and legally. He would have been a hero had he arranged the swap with Brunson, he said.Turkey has come under heightened pressure since its invasion of Syria. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has prepared a bipartisan bill that would require the president to impose sanctions on Halkbank. Those sanctions could include freezing assets or restricting visas.In the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Van Hollen have proposed sanctions any foreign individual or entity that supports the Turkish military or energy production used by that country’s armed forces.Read MoreU.S. Inquiry Into Turkish Bank Inflamed Erdogan, Then Went QuietTurkish Banker Guilty in U.S. of Iran-Sanctions ConspiracyIran’s Sanctions Evasion Went East After Europe Cracked Down(Updates with request for comment; an earlier verison of this story corrected the headline.)\--With assistance from George Lei, Nick Wadhams, Anna Edgerton and Ercan Ersoy.To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Farrell in New York at gregfarrell@bloomberg.net;Christian Berthelsen in New York at cberthelsen1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Winnie O'Kelley at wokelley@bloomberg.net, David Glovin, David S. JoachimFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:03:40 -0400
  • UK border risks snarl up in no-deal Brexit - audit office

    The United Kingdom's border risks being snarled up in a no-deal Brexit because as few as 30 percent of traders are prepared, the European Union would introduce controls and organised crime groups would exploit weaknesses, the National Audit Office said. The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31 and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to strike a last-minute deal, he has said that if the EU refuses then he will lead the world's fifth-largest economy out without an agreement.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:01:00 -0400
  • Fearing US abandonment, Kurds kept back channels wide open

    Golocal247.com news

    When Syria's Kurdish fighters, America's longtime battlefield allies against the Islamic State, announced over the weekend that they were switching sides and joining up with Damascus and Moscow, it seemed like a moment of geopolitical whiplash. Fearing U.S. abandonment, the Kurds opened a back channel to the Syrian government and the Russians in 2018, and those talks ramped up significantly in recent weeks, American, Kurdish and Russian officials told The Associated Press. "We warned the Kurds that the Americans will ditch them," Russia's ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, told Russia's Tass news agency on Monday.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 18:58:14 -0400
  • The Latest: House to vote on bipartisan Syria resolution

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    The House plans to vote Wednesday on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Donald Trump's withdrawal of American troops from northeastern Syria. The measure underscores an overwhelming congressional consensus that Trump's decision has damaged U.S. interests in the region and helped adversaries, including the Islamic State, Russia and Iran. The withdrawal prompted Turkey's attacks on Syrian Kurds, who'd been the top U.S. ally in the region against Islamic State fighters.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 18:55:09 -0400
  • US charges Turkey's Halkbank with evading Iran sanctions

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    US federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Turkey's state-run Halkbank Tuesday for allegedly participating in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to evade economic sanctions on Iran. "This is one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement announcing the indictment. The indictment comes at an extremely sensitive time between Washington and Ankara after the US slapped sanctions on Turkey on Monday over its military offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 18:13:31 -0400
  • Russia seeks to cement its role as power broker in Syria

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    Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria on Tuesday, deploying troops to keep apart advancing Syrian government forces and Turkish troops. At the same time, tensions grew within NATO as Turkey defied growing condemnation of its invasion from its Western allies. Now in its seventh day, Turkey's offensive against Kurdish fighters has caused tens of thousands to flee their homes, has upended alliances and is re-drawing the map of northern Syria for yet another time in the 8-year-old war.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 18:01:38 -0400
  • EU, U.K. Negotiators Closing In on a Draft Deal: Brexit Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.U.K. and European Union negotiators are closing in on a draft Brexit deal amid optimism there could be a breakthrough before the end of Tuesday, two EU officials said.They cautioned talks haven’t yet finished, and there could be problems hitting the midnight deadline. But there are clear signs that a legal text is close to being ready.The aim would be to present the draft to national delegations on Wednesday morning, an EU diplomat said. The pound surged, climbing as much as 1.2% to $1.2756, the highest level in nearly four months.Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still need to secure the agreement of the U.K. Parliament. Negotiators have approached, and even managed to strike, a Brexit deal before -- only to see it shot down in London. Any concession Johnson makes to secure a deal in Brussels risks incurring the opposition of the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support will be vital for any agreement to pass.All time stamps below are Brussels time (CET).Key developments:EU, U.K. negotiators said to be closing in on draft Brexit dealPound traders are gearing up for a nail-biting finish to BrexitJohnson still needs to persuade his Northern Irish alliesSplits in Tory Ranks Over Deal Proposal (11:45 p.m.)In a sign of trouble ahead for Johnson, the Sun reports that two senior members of his Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson, are unhappy with the compromises the prime minister is said to be making over Northern Ireland. Duncan Smith is a former Tory leader, and Paterson was Northern Ireland Secretary. “When would any other country ever give up part of its territory as part of trade talks?“ Paterson told the newspaper in an interview. The danger for Johnson is that once some Brexit-backers start to oppose the deal, it will be harder for others not to join them.DUP: ‘Gaps Remain’ on Proposed Deal (10:15 p.m.)Johnson spent around 90 minutes this evening speaking to Arlene Foster, leader of his Democratic Unionist Party allies, along with Nigel Dodds, who leads their contingent in Parliament. They issued a brief statement afterward: “We respect the fact negotiations are ongoing therefore cannot give a detailed commentary but it would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.”The Northern Ireland-Only Backstop (9:45 p.m.)An EU diplomat, speaking privately, said that the two sides were working on the basis of the old, Northern Ireland-only backstop. Michel Barnier has previously said that the further negotiators move from this off-the-shelf legal text, the longer and more complicated negotiations will be.The diplomat said there’s a chance the two sides won’t conclude the talks tonight, but they could still make sufficient progress for a “concept” of a legal text to be presented at the summit. This would not be a fully ready deal, but its main principles would be clearly outlined, according to the official.In that case, it is possible that the leaders will decide that negotiations can continue after the summit. But some fear that a delay would kill the momentum currently in the talks.Another Push For a Second Referendum (9:30 p.m.)The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats are pushing for any deal to be put back to the public in another referendum. They’ve put down a motion to go before Parliament on Oct. 22, calling for one. On its own, that vote wouldn’t do the job, but it would demonstrate the level of support in Parliament for the idea. “We cannot predict from one day to the next what will happen in Parliament,“ Tom Brake, one of the MPs behind the move, said. “We need to be ready for all eventualities and to press the people’s vote case at every turn.”DUP Cautious About Potential Deal (7:30 p.m.)Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has given a wary reaction to the developments, emphasizing that any deal must not threaten the unity of the U.K. We need “a deal that respects Northern Ireland’s constitutional position as per the Belfast Agreement within the United Kingdom and indeed respects the economic integrity of the U.K. single market,” she said in an interview with RTE.Foster suggested the idea of a Northern Ireland-only backstop plan, which has been mooted, won’t be acceptable. “I think that things are very far off the mark in terms of all of that,” she said.But Foster said she expected to engage in further discussions with Johnson later on Tuesday and would be working with the government to try to achieve a deal.Davis: Time to Back Johnson’s Deal (7:15 p.m.)Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has urged his Conservative colleagues to back any deal Johnson can reach. Talking to Sky News, he said his message to the “Spartans” -- the Tory MPs who have so far refused to back any deal, taking their name from ancient Greek warriors who refused to surrender -- was to remember that “the Spartans lost!”Baker: ‘Optimistic’ Johnson Will Get ‘Tolerable’ Deal (7 p.m.)Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, and a man who refused to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, has left Downing Street after talks on what Johnson is trying to achieve. He sounded like he was minded to support the prime minister, something that raises significantly the chances of a deal passing Parliament. “I’m happy to say it was a very constructive conversation,” Baker told reporters, “and I’m optimistic it is possible to reach a tolerable deal which I’ll be able to vote for.”EU Envoys To Meet Wednesday Afternoon (6:30 p.m.)Ambassadors from the 27 remaining EU governments will be briefed by European Commission negotiators at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.This could be the moment when we find out officially whether Johnson has a deal to take to the summit of leaders on Thursday.Varadkar: Gaps Remain as Talks Make Progress (5:30 p.m.)Irish premier Leo Varadkar said Brexit talks have made “progress,” and are moving in the right direction, but as of a few hours ago, significant gaps still remain between the EU position and that of the U.K. The key difference remains on plans for customs checks on the island of Ireland.Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Varadkar said the situation may have developed in the last few hours and he would be briefed this evening on developments.Negotiators Closing In on Draft Brexit Deal (4:30 p.m.)A dramatic breakthrough in negotiations could come within hours after a productive day of intensive talks in Brussels so far. The British side submitted revised proposals for a deal which appear to have unlocked progress.The U.K’s plans are shrouded in secrecy but the focus is on Northern Ireland’s relationship to the EU’s customs union and the degree to which checks on goods crossing the Irish border can be eliminated. That border has been the scene of violence for decades until the late 1990s and both sides are committed to protecting the peace, which border posts could undermine.Two EU officials suggested that the U.K. had accepted that customs checks would have to take place on goods traveling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland -- in other words between two parts of the U.K. -- rather than at the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.That’s something that Theresa May ruled out, and Boris Johnson’s Northern Irish allies in the Democratic Unionist Party has previously said they cannot support. This means getting a deal on these lines through a vote in Britain’s Parliament could be difficult.Saturday Sitting Will Depend on Talks: Rees-Mogg (3:15 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said it still hasn’t been decided if the U.K. Parliament should meet on Saturday, and events at the summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday will determine if it does.“The events that might require a Saturday sitting have not yet reached their fruition,” Rees-Mogg told the House of Commons. “It will only happen if we have something, subject to what happens in European Council, to debate on Saturday.”He said Parliament meeting on a Saturday for only the fourth time in 70 years would be necessary to fulfill the terms of the Benn Act, which requires Boris Johnson to write to the EU to request an extension if a Brexit agreement has not been reached by then. Chris Leslie, a Labour MP who backed the legislation, said it does not need Parliament to meet for the law to be obeyed.Finnish PM Says U.K. Making ‘Real Effort’ (1:45 p.m.)Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said an extension to Brexit may come up at the EU leaders’ summit at the end of the week and there are grounds to consider it.Rinne, whose views are significant because his country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, also said it’s possible an extra summit on Brexit will be needed before the end of the month. “It makes sense to try to reach a common view until the last moment,” Rinne told reporters in Helsinki.“For the first time during this process I have a feeling the U.K. is making a real effort,” he said. “Britain’s actions have shown it is seeking a deal to avoid a hard Brexit.”Johnson, Macron Had ‘Constructive’ Brexit Call (12:48 p.m.)Boris Johnson discussed Brexit with French President Emmanuel Macron in a 20 minute phone call, Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London.“It was constructive. I would say it was a good discussion,” Slack said, without giving further details of the discussion.The U.K. is working hard to reach a deal with the bloc as time runs short before Thursday’s summit of EU leaders in Brussels, Slack said.The Pound Pares Earlier Gains (12:25 p.m.)After rallying on Barnier’s comments that a deal is possible this week, the pound pared some of its gains, as details emerged from the meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg, in which remaining sticking points were highlighted.It was still up by 0.3% against the dollar as of 12:20 p.m in Brussels, amid cautious optimism that an accord is within grasp. The whipsaw between positive and skeptical headlines pushed one-week volatility to its highest since July 2016.France Says U.K. Made Serious Brexit Proposal (12:14 p.m.)The French government believes that the U.K. presented a “serious proposal” to exit the EU, though it’s too early to say if there will be a deal by the European summit later this week.The situation regarding Brexit must be clear before the EU leaders meet on Thursday in Brussels, about two weeks prior to the Oct. 31 deadline for the U.K.’s exit from the bloc, a French presidency official said during a briefing with reporters in Paris.JPMorgan Says Pare Back No-Deal Brexit Protection (12:12 p.m.)JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit strategists are so confident that the U.K. will avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal this month that they recommend closing Brexit hedges on no-deal exposed borrowers such as Lloyds Banking Group Plc and ITV Plc.Coveney Says “Today is a Key Day” (12:00 p.m.)“This isn’t the time for optimism or pessimism,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters in Luxembourg after the meeting with his EU counterparts and Barnier. “The negotiating teams have made progress but it’s been slow,” he added.“This is difficult, but it is possible,” according to Coveney, who reiterated that EU leaders aren’t willing to negotiate on a legal text. Such text must be finalized by negotiating teams.“Today is a key day,” he said. “I don’t want to raise expectations, but later on today or this evening, but if there is going to be a positive report that is needed in EU capitals tomorrow in advance of the EU Summit, well clearly, a big step forward needs to happen today.”Barnier’s Cautious Optimism (11:35 a.m.)Barnier was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a Brexit deal during his meeting in Luxembourg with EU ministers, according to a national official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A breakthrough is possible as soon as today, in which case the matter would be to EU leaders when they meet Oct. 17-18, according to the official.While the sticking points remain the same, Barnier’s optimism reflects U.K. willingness to address EU concerns, said the official. Barnier himself, walking by reporters in a hallway in Luxembourg, told them the search for a Brexit agreement is an “ongoing process.”Barnier Sees Chances of Significant Progress (11:05 a.m.)Here’s a bit more from Barnier’s discussion with EU ministers in Luxembourg. “Not all that U.K. has been saying in the last days is totally unacceptable,” the chief negotiator said, according to one of the people in the meeting. “They have moved in our direction on key points and that’s why I think we still can make significant progress today,” he said, according to the official.Rees-Mogg: Parliament Would Approve Deal (10:45 a.m.)Jacob Rees-Mogg, the U.K. minister in charge of steering legislation through the House of Commons, said that if Johnson secures a deal with the EU, it could be ratified by Parliament very quickly. “The votes are there,” Rees-Mogg told LBC radio.For any deal to pass, the issue of the Irish border would need to be solved in order to guarantee the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which has 10 crucial votes in the legislature.“I don’t know what is being discussed in Brussels,” Rees-Mogg told LBC. “Basically, I am trusting Boris Johnson because he has been a Brexiteer before the term Brexiteer existed.”Barclay: Deal is “Very Much” Possible (10:45 a.m.)“Talks are ongoing and we need to give them space,” U.K. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told reporters in Luxembourg. He added that a “deal is very much possible.”Merkel Promises to Work to ‘Last Minute’ (10:40 a.m.)Chancellor Angela Merkel says Brexit talks are like “squaring the circle,” but she will continue to work for a deal until the “last minute.”“It’s very, very complicated,” Merkel said in a speech in Berlin at an industrial conference. “We’ll work on it until the last minute.”Text Ready for Summit? (10:30 a.m.)Barnier has told EU ministers that there is a chance the two sides could have a consolidated legal text ready by Thursday’s summit, according to two officials present at the meeting. The two sides are closing in on an agreement on the Stormont lock and customs checks in Northern Ireland.Barnier cautioned that the talks could still go one of three ways: conclude, reach a deadlock, or need to continue after the summit. He plans to debrief the bloc’s envoys in Brussels on Wednesday about the outcome of the discussions.U.K. Carmakers call for EU deal (10 a.m.)After spending more than 500 million pounds ($628 million) preparing for Brexit, British carmakers made a last-ditch call to the government to reach a deal. Crashing out of the EU would threaten jobs and the industry’s long-term survival, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Tuesday.U.K. Submits New Proposals (9:55 a.m.)The U.K. submitted new proposals to EU negotiators on Monday clarifying its plan for customs rules for Northern Ireland, two officials said.Barnier had told diplomats on Sunday that the U.K.’s plans were too complex and risked opening up the European single market to fraud. Monday’s proposals were aimed at responding to that, the officials said.France Says a Deal Is Up to the U.K. (9:30 a.m.)France’s Europe minister, Amelie de Montchalin, said she is still hopeful of a Brexit deal -- but the onus is on the U.K. to bring forward its proposals. The complexity of what was being requested for the Irish border and the short time available make things difficult, she said.“An agreement is possible, but it has to be a balanced deal for everyone,” she said.U.K. to Submit New Proposals (9:20 a.m.)The U.K. will bring forward new proposals today, RTE’s Europe’s editor Tony Connelly reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter. It is not clear if they are revised version of the current British plans being discussed -- which involve keeping Northern Ireland in both the EU and U.K.’s customs zones -- or a different plan, Connelly added.Late Night Talks (9:15 a.m.)In a sign of how intensive the Brexit negotiations have become, they didn’t break up until about 11:30 p.m. on Monday, officials with knowledge of the talks said. They have already resumed in Brussels on Tuesday morning, they said.German Minister Not Sure Deal Is Close (9:10 a.m.)“I’m not quite sure a deal is close but we’re doing our best to find a good deal,” Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth told reporters in Luxembourg. “A hard Brexit would be a disaster, not just for the U.K., but also for the 27.”Roth said Germany was “extremely flexible” but that the integrity of the single market and the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence, were key.Dutch Minister Says Proposal Needs More Work (8:56 a.m.)The foreign minister from the Netherlands told reporters that the U.K. offer indicates progress, but more work needs to be done.“The U.K. proposal contains some steps forward but doesn’t yet guarantee that the single market will be protected,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told reporters in Luxembourg. “There have been intensive talks and they’re still going on, but let’s use the remaining time until Oct. 31.”Pound Gains After Barnier Comments (8:50 a.m.)The pound jumped on Barnier’s comments, rising as much as 0.7% to $1.2698, close to the three-month high touched last week after leaders said they could see a “pathway” to a potential Brexit deal. Hedge funds and asset managers have been paring their bets on a weaker pound, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.Barnier Says Brexit Deal Difficult, Possible (8:35 a.m)EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal is possible this week but talks remain tough. “Even if an agreement will be difficult -- more and more difficult to be frank -- it will still be possible this week,” Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg.“Reaching an agreement is still possible. Obviously, any agreement must work for everyone, the whole of the U.K. and the whole of the EU,” he said.He added that it’s high time to “turn good intentions into a legal text.”Earlier:Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal On Knife Edge as EU Needs More TimeJohnson Has a Big Brexit Problem: His Northern Irish FriendsThe Brexit Threat to World Markets Remains Too Huge to Ignore\--With assistance from Thomas Penny, John Ainger, Jessica Shankleman, Patrick Donahue, Kitty Donaldson, Vassilis Karamanis, Helene Fouquet, Leo Laikola, Jonathan Stearns, Robert Hutton and Greg Ritchie.To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.net;Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, Tim RossFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:54:41 -0400
  • The Latest: Erdogan rejects call for ceasefire in Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he rejects a call from U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a ceasefire and halt Turkey's military offensive in northeastern Syria. Turkey's leader also told a group of journalists Tuesday that he is not concerned about the presence of Syrian government troops moving into the city of Manbij, but does not want Syrian Kurdish fighters to remain.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:51:13 -0400
  • Halkbank indictment does not contribute positively to U.S.-Turkey ties- Turkish official

    A U.S. federal court indictment charging Turkey's state-owned Halkbank with taking a part in a multi-billion dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran is yet another additional step that doesn't contribute positively to ties between Washington and Ankara, an official at Turkey's embassy said on Tuesday. "This indictment constitutes an additional step that does not contribute positively to the current situation of U.S. Turkey relations," the official told Reuters.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:44:24 -0400
  • Your Evening Briefing

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up hereCould it be? U.K. and European Union negotiators in Brussels are closing in on a draft Brexit deal, and they’re actually optimistic that they can reach a breakthrough. Any accord will of course hinge on whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson has the support of various groups, not the least of which is Parliament. Still, the pound surged on the news to its highest level in almost five months. U.S. stocks rose as well because of some positive earnings news.  Here are today’s top storiesThe first round of those earnings showed that months of market turmoil have pushed JPMorgan even further ahead of its rivals.The candidates for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination will debate tonight in Ohio.Rudolph Giuliani, the embattled ex-mayor and lawyer at the center of the impeachment investigation of his client, President Donald Trump, said he would defy a House subpoena. Giuliani’s lawyer also quit Tuesday, saying he was only hired to say his client wouldn’t comply.Democracy protesters pushing back against China’s influence in Hong Kong aren’t just focusing on Carrie Lam and the police. They’re also targeting mainland-based banks and brands with fire bombs, metal bars and spray paint. Our writers at Bloomberg Opinion warn that, no matter what happens with the proposed partial trade deal between China and the U.S., a trade war recession is on the way, and it probably can’t be stopped.About that trade deal Trump announced Friday: Beijing wants a rollback in tariffs before it will agree to buy as much as $50 billion of American agriculture products (which was, according to Trump, part of the bargain).What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director is mulling the crisis at WeWork will end up costing thousands of people their jobs, as the company slashes headcount. In a different market environment, where public equity investors would be willing to fund years more of losses, the firm would probably still be growing its payroll. Such is the feedback loop between financial conditions and markets and real world consequences for workers and investment. WeWork’s saga may be extreme, Joe says, but it’s one being played out all over the place. What you’ll need to know tomorrowThe founder of electric vehicle startup Faraday filed for bankruptcy. A Lufthansa unit grounded the Airbus A220 over an engine fault. A Swiss bank keeps cropping up in Venezuelan corruption cases. Meanwhile, Venezuela just hiked its minimum wage by 275%. Justin Trudeau is in trouble, and Canadian voters will say how much. MGM sold the Bellagio to Blackstone for $4.25 billion. New Apple Beats headphones now have noise-cancelling capability.What you’ll want to read in Climate ChangedAmerica’s green economy is worth $1.3 trillion. America has another economy, one that doesn’t poison the planet. Indeed, if the U.S. wants to extend economic growth, it should double down on cleaning up the environment and fighting climate change, two industries fueling jobs and revenue, according to a new analysis by University College London researchers. They concluded that almost 9.5 million Americans, or about 4% of the workforce, are employed in a “green economy” that generates $1.3 trillion in annual revenue, or 7% of GDP. To contact the author of this story: David Rovella in New York at drovella@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:43:35 -0400
  • UN ends Haiti peacekeeping operations, urges end to crisis

    Golocal247.com news

    The UN Security Council ended 15 years of peacekeeping operations in Haiti on Tuesday, voicing regret that the country is still saddled with huge economic, political and social woes. The United Nations first sent peacekeepers to Haiti after then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown by the army in 2004 under the pressure of a popular uprising. In 2017 those soldiers were replaced by a UN police mission whose numbers dropped gradually from 1,300 to 600 and are now to be replaced by a scaled down political mission.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:39:39 -0400
  • U.S. attorney charges Turkish bank with sanctions violations in case Trump tried to get dropped

    The Southern District of New York has yet another blow for President Trump.On Tuesday, the Manhattan branch of the U.S. attorney's office charged the Turkish state-run bank known as Halkbank with six counts of fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses. The move comes after Turkey spent years trying to get the U.S. to drop the case in question, and after Trump himself tried to get the Justice Department to help Turkey out with that goal.Halkbank's case began in 2012 when it allegedly began trying to "undermine" U.S. sanctions on Iran by "illegally giving Iran access to billions of dollars' worth of funds," a SDNY press release reads. Bloomberg reported last week that Trump in 2017 pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to get the DOJ to drop a case against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who had been previously charged in what the SDNY calls the Halkbank "scheme." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) tried to tell Turkey's minister of defense that Trump still opposed the Halkbank case in August, though it turned out he was on a call with two Russian pranksters and not the minister, Politico reported.In other negative news for Graham, or at least his ego, he confirmed in a tweet that he was listening in on a Monday phone call between Trump and Erdogan in which Trump "received a commitment" to stay out of Kurdish-held Syria. Erdogan didn't know Graham was on the phone, and reportedly complained about him during it, people brief on the call told The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:31:00 -0400
  • There is now some cautious optimism for a Brexit deal

    A Brexit deal, in which Northern Ireland would "de jure be in the U.K.'s customs territory but de facto in the European Union's," is in the works The Guardian reports,A draft text of the agreement -- which allegedly includes a customs border in the Irish sea -- could reportedly be published as early as Wednesday if Downing Street signs off on the concessions, sources told The Guardian. Even if that does happen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still have to usher the agreement through British Parliament, which was a difficult task for his predecessor, Theresa May. But there has not yet been any public criticism from Brexit hardliners.In fact, Steve Baker, the leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said he emerged from a Downing Street meeting "optimistic that it is possible to reach a tolerable deal that I am able to vote for." Johnson's ally and the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said he believes Johnson has the numbers he needs in Parliament, though Northern Ireland's conservative Democratic Unionist Party could still be a tough get. Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, though more cautious, told reporters that "initial indications are that we are making progress, that the negotiations are moving in the right direction."Still, there's some nervousness among EU nations that negotiations are being rushed ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline, The Guardian reports. It's time to wait and see. Read more at The Guardian.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:15:00 -0400
  • UN rights chief: Challenges increase to global cooperation

    The U.N. human rights chief said Tuesday the world is witnessing increasing hate speech, rising challenges to international cooperation, and pushbacks on women's equality and the rights of minorities.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:14:25 -0400
  • U.S. prosecutors accuse Turkey's Halkbank of scheme to evade Iran sanctions

    Golocal247.com news

    U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank with taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran - an indictment that may complicate tension between NATO allies Washington and Ankara. The charges unsealed in federal court in Manhattan mirror those against one of Halkbank's former executives, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was found guilty and sentenced to prison after a trial in the same court last year. Halkbank could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours in Turkey.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:11:11 -0400
  • UPDATE 3-U.S. prosecutors accuse Turkey's Halkbank of scheme to evade Iran sanctions

    U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank with taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran - an indictment that may complicate tension between NATO allies Washington and Ankara. The charges unsealed in federal court in Manhattan mirror those against one of Halkbank's former executives, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was found guilty and sentenced to prison after a trial in the same court last year. Halkbank could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours in Turkey.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 17:07:48 -0400
  • Turkey's president pulled one over on Trump — and some of the US's most dangerous adversaries are the big winners

    Golocal247.com news

    The Islamic State, Russia, Iran, and Syria are all poised to strengthen their positions amid the chaos triggered by Trump's abrupt withdrawal.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:33:34 -0400
  • Egypt says archaeologists uncovered 20 ancient coffins

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    Egypt's Antiquities Ministry says archaeologists have uncovered at least 20 ancient wooden coffins in the southern city of Luxor. A brief statement from the ministry says Tuesday says archaeologists found the coffins in the Asasif Necropolis. Egypt has sought publicity for its archaeological discoveries in the hopes of reviving its tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:18:07 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-U.S. wants China to press North Korea to be more constructive in talks-Pentagon official

    The senior U.S. defense official for Asia said on Tuesday the United States wants China to improve its enforcement of sanctions on North Korea and take other steps to press Pyongyang to be more constructive in talks with the United States. Randall Schriver, the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, told a Washington conference there had been some slippage in sanctions enforcement by China, particularly when it came to controlling ship-to-ship transfers of banned goods in its waters.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:11:56 -0400
  • Clinton Decries Trump’s Policy by Tweet: Campaign Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump’s policy shifts on Syria have allowed Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin to strengthen their control of the war-torn country.She also criticized Trump’s narrow focus on trade in dealing with China, saying Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea and its development of ports overseas threaten national security.Speaking at the Carnegie Peacebuilding Conversations in New York, Clinton said Trump’s approach to foreign policy leaves his team and U.S. allies without direction.“There’s no work being done in this administration,” Clinton said. “Everybody waits around to see what the latest tweet is, or the latest South Lawn press statement is. That’s how policy is being made. And we are going to pay a really big price for that in the years ahead.”Trump Team Plans Flyover of Democratic Debate (12:54 p.m.)Donald Trump isn’t letting Ohio voters forget about him as 12 Democratic presidential candidates prepare to take the stage in suburban Columbus for their fourth debate Tuesday night.The president’s re-election campaign said it plans to use aerial advertising over Westerville, where the debate is being held at Otterbein University, with a 35-foot by 105-foot banner saying, “SOCIALISM DESTROYS OHIO JOBS. VOTE TRUMP.”The campaign also took out a full-page ad in today’s Columbus Dispatch with a picture of the top three Democrats -- Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders -- and captions suggesting they will “wreck Ohio’s economy” with a picture of a smiling Trump below.Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is also hosting a lunchtime “women for Trump” event near the debate site to counter Democrats’ narrative that they can win suburban women’s votes. -- Mark NiquetteImpeachment Inquiry Helps GOP Fundraising (11:55 a.m.)President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign says Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is helping them recruit volunteers and raise money.The campaign picked up 50,000 new donors in recent weeks, and supporters who have never volunteered for campaigns are coming forward, officials said in a conference call with reporters. Trump supporters view the House impeachment inquiry as an effort by Democrats to nullify their votes, the officials said.In coming weeks, the campaign plans to increase the number of rallies Trump holds around the country, said the officials, who spoke on condition they not be identified. -- Jennifer JacobsCOMING UPThe fourth Democratic debate is scheduled for Tuesday at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Twelve candidates are slated to take part: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang.\--With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs and Mark Niquette.To contact the reporter on this story: David Wainer in New York at dwainer3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:55:08 -0400
  • Putin talks investments and space in Abu Dhabi

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed deals worth over $1.3 billion with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, wrapping up a tour of the Gulf where he also courted investment in Saudi Arabia. A day after inking a major oil cooperation deal with Riyadh, Putin was greeted by Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. "You will not be disappointed by your Russian partners," Putin said.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:44:54 -0400
  • Netanyahu asks Russia to free imprisoned Israeli woman

    Israel's prime minister has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon a young Israeli woman imprisoned on drug charges in Russia. Russia last week sentenced Naama Issachar, 26, to seven and a half years in prison, months after she was stopped in Moscow's international airport carrying a reported 9.6 grams of marijuana. Israeli officials have said the sentence was excessive and indicated that Russia is seeking the release of a suspected Russian hacker in return for Issachar.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:24:12 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-DUP leader says "no" to mooted Brexit compromise on tariffs

    The small Northern Irish party supporting Britain's minority government insisted on Tuesday that the region must remain within the United Kingdom customs union as part of any Brexit deal and not have to follow tariffs set by the European Union. While Britain and the EU made headway in eleventh-hour talks on Tuesday to reach a deal, the Democratic Unionist Party's 10 lawmakers in London will play a key role in deciding whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson can pass any deal in parliament. The main obstacle is around customs, with diplomats and officials saying London is proposing that Northern Ireland stays in the UK customs area but that EU tariffs are applied on all goods crossing from mainland Britain to the island.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:21:05 -0400
  • N.Ireland must remain in UK customs union in any Brexit deal - DUP leader

    The small Northern Irish party supporting Britain's minority government insisted on Tuesday that the region must remain within the United Kingdom customs union as part of any Brexit deal, calling for flexibility from the European Union. "We want to get a deal but it has to be a deal that respects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and that means all of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland included," Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster told BBC Northern Ireland.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:53:51 -0400
  • The Latest: 2 N Macedonia officers among suspected smugglers

    Authorities in North Macedonia say they broke up a large migrant-smuggling ring and two police officers were among the nine people arrested. Police spokesman Toni Angelovski said the smuggling group allegedly organized transportation and shelter in North Macedonia for about 400 migrants between March and October. Angelovski says the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Bangladesh and illegally entered North Macedonia from Greece in the south intending to travel through to Serbia in the north.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:47:20 -0400
  • European growth failed to 'lift off' amid Brexit, slowdown: IMF economist

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    Europe's economic expansion sputtered this year, disappointing expectations due to the well-known Brexit concerns, but also because of issues within major economies like Germany and Italy, a top IMF economist told AFP. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, deputy director of the IMF Research Department, said weakening global demand means those export-dependent economies face growing challenges. "Europe had a very strong 2017 and very strong beginning of 2018 and we were really hoping we would see a liftoff in European growth," he said in an interview.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:14:52 -0400
  • France Blocks EU Push to Open Membership Talks With Balkan States

    (Bloomberg) -- France blocked a European Union drive to start membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, dismissing German-led warnings that political stability in the Balkans could be at stake.At a meeting of EU general affairs ministers on Tuesday, the French government shot down a plan to give the two countries a target date next year for beginning entry talks, according to two officials familiar with discussion who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The move pushes the whole controversy onto the already-crowded agenda of an Oct. 17-18 EU summit in Brussels, where Brexit and Syria will also be discussed.The deadlock at the ministerial gathering in Luxembourg resulted from a French argument, backed in part by the Netherlands, that no date should be set for opening accession deliberations with North Macedonia and Albania until the EU revamps its whole approach to enlargement. At issue is whether the two countries adhere to EU norms on the rule of law, an area where some newer member nations have been accused of backsliding.“We clearly aren’t in a position today to stand by what we have repeatedly promised, namely the taking up of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania,” German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth told reporters in Luxembourg. “We are very disappointed.”EU InfightingNorth Macedonia’s Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, traveled to Brussels Tuesday for “a last attempt to lobby for an accesstion-talk date,” according to Telma TV. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said his country would continue to pursue reforms even if the European Council doesn’t decide to open talks, the BalkanWeb news site reported.”For us Europe is a strong relationship,” Rama said. “We are only seeking to open the negotiations, further showing that we want to become part of the EU.”The infighting among EU governments reflects two competing political views: German-backed arguments that offering more Balkan countries the hope of joining the world’s biggest trading club strengthens European geopolitical stability and French-led calls for deeper integration of the bloc before any further expansion.Both Albania and North Macedonia have been lobbying to open accession talks, with the latter changing its name to resolve a decades-long dispute with Greece. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has said both countries have made enough progress in aligning their judicial standards to merit opening of negotiations.Broader PictureJohannes Hahn, the European commissioner in charge of enlargement policy, predicted that EU national government heads would reach an agreement on Thursday or Friday that eluded their general-affairs ministers.“It am still confident the leaders will rectify the decision -- or non-decision -- of today,” Hahn, who comes from Austria, told reporters after the Luxembourg meeting. “I hope our leaders are able to see the broader picture.”The French-German split is itself a symptom of EU successes and failures over the past two decades.On the one hand, the bloc orchestrated a “big-bang” enlargement in 2004 by adding ex-communist nations in eastern Europe. On the other, a Greece-triggered debt crisis that almost broke apart the euro and a rise in euroskeptic political forces that helped lead to the U.K.’s Brexit decision have stoked concerns about letting in more poorer nations.Three other Balkan countries have already started membership negotiations: Serbia in 2014, Montenegro in 2012 and Turkey in 2005.(Updates with comments from Balkan leaders in fifth, sixth paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Luxembourg at jstearns2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey, Andrea DudikFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:36:30 -0400
  • Pro-Brexit lawmaker Baker says optimistic a tolerable deal can be struck

    The leader of the strongly pro-Brexit faction within Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party said he was optimistic that a tolerable deal could be struck with the European Union that he could vote for in parliament. Steve Baker, the head of the European Research Group which wants a cleaner break with Brussels, told reporters after he emerged from a meeting in Johnson's office that he was very pleased the government was making progress.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:31:26 -0400
  • German climate plan brings sharp air travel tax hike

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    Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet will sign off draft laws on new green taxes and subsidies this week, including much harsher charges on short-haul flights, German government sources said Tuesday. While environmentalists immediately labelled the changes insufficient, conservatives and the far right have challenged it, saying it goes too far.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:31:00 -0400
  • Russian troll freed in Belarus after arrest for US election tampering

    Golocal247.com news

    Anna Bogacheva was detained and briefly threatened with extradition to the US after being named in Mueller reportRobert Mueller alleges that Anna Bogacheva and others posed as US citizens to set up social media accounts aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential vote. Photograph: Tom Brenner/ReutersA Russian national charged with attempting to meddle in the 2016 American presidential elections was briefly threatened with extradition to the United States after being arrested in Belarus, before she was was freed by local authorities. Anna Bogacheva was detained late on Monday evening by police at a hotel in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, while on holiday with her family, according to RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency. Her lawyer said she had been detained under an international arrest warrant issued by the United States.Bogacheva was one of 13 Russians indicted last year by the US justice department after the investigation into election interference led by the special counsel Robert Mueller. Three Russian entities, including a notorious state-backed “troll farm” called the Internet Research Agency, were also indicted. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Bogacheva had been arrested and said that it was providing consular assistance. But shortly after the foreign ministry statement, Russia’s embassy in Minsk announced that Bogacheva had been freed. A spokesman for Belarus’ general prosecutor’s office said that there were “no grounds” for her arrest or extradition to the United States. “She has been released,” the spokesman said, adding that Minsk would apply to have the international warrant for her arrest invalidated on the territory of Belarus. Mueller alleges that the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency’s employees, including Bogacheva, posed as US citizens to set up social media accounts aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential vote that brought Donald Trump to power, as well as sowing “discord” in the US political system. US investigators say the Internet Research Agency is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman known as “Putin’s chef” because his companies often provide catering services to the Kremlin. Prigozhin is also reported to provide mercenaries for Russia’s military operations in Syria, Ukraine and parts of Africa. Bogacheva is accused of working as a translator for the agency and overseeing its data analysis group. She and Alexander Krylova, another agency employee, travelled to the United States in June 2014 on what US investigators say was an intelligence gathering trip. Bogacheva’s arrest in Minsk briefly looked set to derail relations between Belarus and Russia. Viktor Vodolatsky, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party, accused Belarus of a “betrayal” before news of her release broke.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:07:58 -0400
  • Dutch Delight At Brexit Bounty

    Shippers are rapidly relocating distribution and storage capacity to continental Europe ahead of the U.K.'s expected exit from the European Union (EU). Britain is scheduled to ‘Brexit' the EU with no deal on 31 October although multiple outcomes are still possible. Anecdotal evidence that this trend is in full flight was readily available on a fact-finding logistics tour of the Netherlands by FreightWaves last week.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:05:37 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Sick of Brexit, Scotland's Sturgeon vows new independence vote in 2020

    Scotland must hold another independence referendum in 2020 and will soon request the powers needed to hold it legally, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday. Scots rejected independence in a referendum in 2014 but the SNP says that Britain's vote to leave the European Union fundamentally changes its constitutional arrangements and means that the independence question should be revisited. Sturgeon, who is also Scotland's First Minister, said she was "sick of Brexit" and that the United Kingdom was a broken political system that imposed policies on Scotland against its will.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:51:16 -0400
  • EU, U.K. Negotiators Said to Be Closing in on Draft Brexit Deal

    (Bloomberg) -- U.K. and European Union negotiators in Brussels are closing in on a draft Brexit deal with optimism there will be a breakthrough before the end of the day Tuesday, two EU officials said.Any draft legal text will hinge on whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes he has the support of the U.K. Parliament, with the backing of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party crucial. Officials cautioned talks haven’t finished yet and there’s work still to do.The pound surged after Bloomberg’s initial reports, climbing as much as 1.5% to $1.28, the highest level in nearly five months.While there’s some finalizing to do, there are clear indications that negotiators will present a legal text on Wednesday morning for EU governments to scrutinize, an official said. That would only be possible if there’s a green light from Johnson, a separate official said.Negotiators have approached -- and even managed to strike -- a Brexit deal before, only to see it shot down by the British government or the House of Commons, and EU negotiators are aware of Johnson’s need to get the DUP on board. This could complicate clinching a deal by Tuesday’s midnight deadline and shift focus to a summit of EU leaders that starts in Brussels on Thursday.Saturday VoteIf a deal is reached, Johnson would be able to put it to the U.K. Parliament on Saturday and avoid being forced to seek another delay beyond Oct. 31. But he lacks a majority in Westminster and any concessions could prompt the DUP, which props up his administration, to try and thwart the agreement.The U.K’s proposals are shrouded in secrecy but the focus is on Northern Ireland’s relationship to the EU’s customs union and the degree to which checks can be eliminated on goods crossing the Irish border, a scene of violence for decades until the late 1990s.Two EU officials suggested that the U.K. had accepted that customs checks would have to take place on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland -- in other words between two parts of the U.K. -- rather than between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. That customs border in the Irish Sea is something the DUP has previously said it won’t support.(Updates with Parliament details starting in the sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.net;Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:26:46 -0400
  • Wildfires spread through parts of Lebanon, Syria

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    Wildfires spread through parts of Lebanon on Tuesday after forcing some residents to flee their homes in the middle of the night, while others were stuck inside as the flames reached villages south of Beirut, authorities said. There were no reports of fatalities from the fires — among the worst to hit Lebanon in years. Fire crews were overwhelmed by the flames in the Mount Lebanon region early Tuesday, forcing the Interior Ministry to send riot police with engines equipped with water cannons to help.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:25:17 -0400
  • Nearly Half of Food Waste Happens Before It Reaches the Market

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    The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization says 14 percent of all food produced never even makes it to the consumer.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:21:32 -0400
  • Irish PM says Brexit talks make progress and going in the right direction

    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday that Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union had made progress and were moving in the right direction. "In terms of Brexit negotiations, I've a confession to make: Tuesday is a pretty crazy day and I spent the morning in cabinet and the afternoon in the Chamber so I've to go back to the office now and get a briefing from Brussels," Varadkar told reporters. "The initial indications are that we are making progress, that negotiations are moving in the right direction," Varadkar said.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:19:38 -0400
  • 2 contractors killed, 2 injured at Saudi oil refinery

    A Saudi oil refinery owned by its state-run energy company says an apparent industrial accident has killed two workers and injured two others. It did not elaborate on the cause of the incident, nor did it elaborate on what killed and injured the contractors. SASREF is owned by Saudi Aramco, which the kingdom hopes to offer a sliver of in an initial public offering to raise money for the country's development plans.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:01:48 -0400
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