Tue. Jul 23rd, 2019

Theresa May holds a press conference at 10 Downing Street to discuss her Brexit plans this evening. Photo: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

Nov 19: May faces new Brexit setback, Russia disrupts Nato war games, and Gillum concedes Florida race

North America

  • The White House has defended US President Donald Trump’s decision to miss a WW1 memorial event. Mr Trump, who was in France to mark the centenary of World War One’s end, cancelled a visit to a US military cemetery because it was raining. Bad weather and “near-zero visibility” grounded the presidential helicopter, White House officials said.
  • Hate crimes in the US rose by 17% in 2017, the third straight year that incidents of bias-motivated attacks have grown, according to the FBI. Law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes last year compared with 6,121 in 2016.
  • Residents in the Canadian city of Calgary have voted strongly against bidding to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. More than 56% of voters rejected the idea amid a high turnout.
  • White House Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel has left her post, following a high-profile row with US First Lady Melania Trump. A White House spokeswoman said Mrs Ricardel “departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration”. She did not elaborate.
  • Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Donald Trump, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police in Los Angeles say. Celebrity news website TMZ said this followed a physical confrontation between the lawyer and a woman.
  • US President Donald Trump has attacked Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, calling it a “total mess” and “absolutely nuts”. He tweeted on Thursday that investigators were “threatening” people to provide “the answers they want”.
  • Donald Trump says he has finished answering questions about alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign. The US leader told reporters he had personally answered the questions “very easily”, but his responses had yet to be submitted to the investigating team.
  • Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has recognised her rival’s victory while announcing a plan to sue the state. The candidate announced she would file a federal suit against Georgia for “gross mismanagement” of the vote.
  • Democrat Andrew Gillum has admitted defeat to his Republican rival in the race to be named Florida’s governor – for the second time. Mr Gillum, who hoped to be Florida’s first black governor, congratulated Ron DeSantis in a tweet, 10 days after he first conceded the 6 November election.

South America

  • Hundreds of Central American migrants travelling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US have reached the Mexican border city of Tijuana. The group of 400, which includes LGBTQ migrants, broke away from the larger caravan of 5,000 people in Mexico City.
  • Cuba is pulling thousands of doctors out of Brazil, after what it called “contemptuous and threatening” remarks by president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right leader, who takes office on 1 January, had questioned the doctors’ qualifications.
  • The attorney-general’s office in Colombia has opened an investigation into the death of Jorge Enrique Pizano. Mr Pizano was a key witness in a corruption investigation involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Asia

  • A rising tide of nationalism in India is driving ordinary citizens to spread fake news, according to BBC research. The research found that facts were less important to some than the emotional desire to bolster national identity. Social media analysis suggested that right-wing networks are much more organised than on the left, pushing nationalistic fake stories further.
  • Amnesty International is stripping Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award. The politician and Nobel peace prize winner received the honour in 2009, when she was living under house arrest.
  • Canada is in discussions with Pakistan about granting asylum to Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi recently acquitted of blasphemy, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • No Rohingya refugees voluntarily chose to return to Myanmar from camps in Bangladesh on the first day of a planned repatriation programme. Under a joint deal between the two countries, authorities had wanted to move some 2,000 Rohingya on last Thursday. But the UN and rights groups say no-one should be forced to return, as the situation in Myanmar is not safe.
  • Countries which embrace protectionism are “doomed to failure”, China’s Xi Jinping has warned in a veiled swipe at the US’s America First policy. Mr Xi was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, where US-Chinese tensions are likely to be centre stage.

Europe

  • Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila has said the GPS signal in his country’s northern airspace was disrupted during recent Nato war games in Scandinavia. He said he believed the signal had been jammed deliberately and that it was possible Russia was to blame because it had the means to do so.
  • A Spanish court has ordered former Catalan leader Artur Mas to repay the costs of organising an illegal vote on independence four years ago. Mr Mas and nine other former officials have to repay €4.9m (£4.3m; $5.6m) of public funds.
  • US President Donald Trump has gone on Twitter to mock his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, after an awkward Armistice Day visit. He attacked Mr Macron over nationalism, plans for a European army, French tariffs on US wine imports, and the French leader’s popularity rating. France has responded by saying the tweets were inappropriate and showed a lack of “common decency”.
  • UK and EU officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement after months of negotiations. A cabinet source told the BBC that the document has been agreed at a technical level by officials from both sides after intensive discussions this week.
  • The EU says much work still needs to be done on Brexit, despite agreeing a draft withdrawal document with the UK which it plans to approve on 25 November. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has won the backing of her cabinet but faces a tough task getting the agreement approved by Parliament.
  • Theresa May faces a grilling from MPs the draft Brexit agreement the UK has reached with the EU. The PM secured her cabinet’s backing for the deal after a five-hour meeting but Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has resigned over it. She has also faced a backlash from Tory Brexiteers and her Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) backers, amid suggestions of moves to force a no-confidence vote.
  • Europe’s top human rights court has found that the repeated detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was politically motivated. Mr Navalny filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and was there to hear the ruling on Thursday.
  • Theresa May has dismissed speculation she could be ousted as prime minister over her Brexit agreement, saying: “I am going to see this through.” Despite a series of ministers resigning and talk of a no-confidence vote, she vowed to get the deal signed off in Brussels and to put it to MPs.
  • Protesters in Prague are holding a rally against embattled Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a day after he vowed he would “never resign”. Mr Babis is facing allegations that he defrauded the EU, which he denies.

Middle East

  • Seven Palestinians, including a local militant commander, have been killed during a covert Israeli operation in Gaza, Palestinian officials say. An Israeli soldier was also killed and another wounded, the Israeli military said, after a firefight erupted.
  • Violence has flared between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza,  after seven militants and an Israeli soldier were killed during an undercover Israeli operation in Gaza.
  • Israel’s defence minister has resigned over the cabinet’s decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza. Avigdor Lieberman denounced the move as “surrendering to terror”. He said his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party would leave the ruling coalition, which could lead to an early election.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that early elections will be a disaster for Israel. Mr Netanyahu made the remark at a cabinet meeting, as key coalition allies threaten to pull their support.
  • Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The officer was tasked with persuading the dissident journalist to return to the Gulf kingdom, a spokesman said.
  • The CIA believes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to US media reports. It is understood there is no “smoking gun” but US officials think such an operation would need the prince’s approval.
  • Some Saudi women have launched a protest against the abaya – a long loose-fitting robe used to cover their bodies in public – by saying that they will wear it inside out. Under the hashtag “inside-out abaya” they have posted pictures of the robe, which they feel under pressure to wear.

Africa

  • Denmark is withholding 65m krone (£7.5m; $9.8m) in aid to Tanzania after “unacceptable homophobic comments” from a senior politician, a minister says. Last month, Paul Makonda, commissioner for the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, called on the public to report suspected gay men to the police.
  • The US is cutting hundreds of troops in Africa as it focuses on countering threats from Russia and China. Around 700 counter-terrorism troops will be removed over the next few years, the Department of Defense said.
  • Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have suspended efforts to contain an Ebola virus outbreak in the town of Beni because of worsening rebel attacks. A militia attacked just “a few metres” from an emergency centre, the country’s health ministry said.
  • The World Bank will lend Tanzania a $300m (£243m) educational loan, Tanzania’s presidency has said, amid a row over pregnant schoolgirls. The loan was withdrawn earlier this week over Tanzania’s controversial policy of prohibiting teenage mothers from re-admission to school after giving birth.

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