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  • Millions of Barrels of Iranian Oil Are Piled Up in China's Ports Sun, 21 Jul 2019 21:12:58 -0400

    Millions of Barrels of Iranian Oil Are Piled Up in China's Ports(Bloomberg) -- Tankers are offloading millions of barrels of Iranian oil into storage tanks at Chinese ports, creating a hoard of crude sitting on the doorstep of the world’s biggest buyer.Two and a half months after the White House banned the purchase of Iran’s oil, the nation’s crude is continuing to be sent to China where it’s being put into what’s known as “bonded storage,” say people familiar with operations at several Chinese ports. This oil doesn’t cross local customs or show up in the nation’s import data and is not necessarily in breach of sanctions. And while it remains out of circulation for now, its presence is looming over the market.The store of oil has the potential to push down global prices if Chinese refiners decide to draw on it, even as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies curb production amid slowing growth in major economies. It also allows Iran to keep pumping and move its oil nearer to potential buyers.“Iranian oil shipments have been flowing into Chinese bonded storage for some months now, and continue to do so despite increased scrutiny,” said Rachel Yew, an analyst at industry consultant FGE in Singapore. “We can see why the producer would want to do so, as a build-up of supplies near key buyers is clearly beneficial for a seller, especially if sanctions are eased at some point.”See also: Iranian Oil Tanker Daniel Enters Chinese Port: Ship TrackingThere could be more Iranian oil headed for China’s bonded storage tanks, Bloomberg ship-tracking data show. At least ten very-large crude carriers and two smaller tankers owned by the state-run National Iranian Oil Company and its shipping arm are currently sailing toward China or idling off its coast. The vessels have a combined carrying capacity of over 20 million barrels.The bulk of Iranian oil in China’s bonded tanks is still owned by Tehran and therefore not in breach of sanctions, according to the people. The oil hasn’t crossed Chinese customs so it is theoretically in transit.Some of the crude, though, is owned by Chinese entities that may have received it as part of oil-for-investment schemes. For example, a Chinese oil company could have helped fund a production project in Iran under an agreement to be repaid in kind. Whether this sort of transaction is in breach of sanctions isn’t clear, and so the Chinese companies are keeping it in bonded storage to avoid the official scrutiny it would get once it is registered with customs, according to the people.Nobody replied to a faxed inquiry to China’s General Administration of Customs.Lack of ClarityThe build-up of Iranian oil in Chinese bonded storage has yet to be clearly addressed by Washington. The White House ended waivers allowing some countries to keep importing Iranian oil on May 2.There are currently no exemptions issued to any country for the import of Iranian oil, and any nation seen importing cargoes from the Persian Gulf producer will be in breach of sanctions, according to a senior Trump administration official, who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.“The U.S. will now need to define how it quantifies the infringement of sanctions,” said Michal Meidan, director of the China Energy Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. There’s a lack of clarity on whether it would look at “financial transactions or the loading and discharge of cargoes by company or entity,” she said.See also: China Buying Iran LPG Despite Sanctions, Ship-Tracking ShowsChina received about 12 million tons of Iranian crude from January through May, according to ship-tracking data, versus about 10 million that cleared customs over the period. The discrepancy could be due to the flow of oil into bonded storage.One of the Iranian tankers that appears to have loaded oil after the U.S. waivers ended is very-large crude carrier Horse. It discharged at Tianjin in early-July after sailing from the Middle East where shipping data showed it signaling its destination as Iran’s Kharg Island on May 4.Several other Iranian-owned tankers offloaded in China or were heading there, according to ship tracking data. VLCC Stream discharged at Tianjin on June 19, while Amber, Salina and C. Infinity offloaded crude at the ports of Huangdao, Jinzhou and Ningbo. Tankers Snow, Sevin and Maria III were last seen sailing in the direction of China.Putting crude into bonded tanks in China also means Iran can avoid having to tie up part of its tanker fleet by storing the oil at sea for months at a time. The Islamic Republic used floating storage in 2012 to 2016 and again in 2018 as buyers shunned its crude due to U.S.-imposed trade restrictions.Should the Iranian crude leave bonded storage and end up in the market it could pressure oil prices, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. West Texas Intermediate plunged more than 20% from late April to mid-June as the U.S.-China trade war intensified. It’s since recovered some of those losses, partly as a result of the rising tension between Washington and Tehran, and is trading near $56 a barrel.“A further escalation in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods could jointly drive global economic growth a lot lower and encourage Iran-China cooperation,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a June note. “If Chinese refiners start to purchase Iran oil in large volumes on a sustained basis as U.S. tariffs rise again, WTI could drop to $40 a barrel.”\--With assistance from Nick Wadhams.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Serene Cheong in Singapore at scheong20@bloomberg.net;Sarah Chen in Beijing at schen514@bloomberg.net;Alfred Cang in Singapore at acang@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Serene Cheong at scheong20@bloomberg.net, Andrew JanesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • U.K. Business Chief Says New Premier Must Restore Confidence Sun, 21 Jul 2019 19:01:00 -0400

    U.K. Business Chief Says New Premier Must Restore Confidence(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor must move beyond Brexit to restore economic confidence and spur investment, the Confederation of British Industry said as it launched a “business manifesto” for the new government.Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will be named May’s successor on Tuesday and take office a day later, and both have pledged to seek a new Brexit deal. The new leader will inherit an economy with sluggish growth and flagging investment amid the uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.“We urge the next prime minister to act fast to get the economy back on track,” CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said in a statement. “The reputation of our country has taken a dent in recent times. Our new prime minister has a real chance to inject a new lease of life into the U.K. economy and show the world we are open for investment.”While Johnson, the favorite, has said the U.K. must leave the EU on Oct. 31 “do or die,” even if that means without a deal, Hunt has signaled he would be prepared to delay Brexit if a deal is in sight. Fairbairn said a no-deal departure “will be seriously damaging.”The CBI’s demands include increased training in digital skills, stepping up spending on research and development, and a “clear commitment” to large infrastructure projects. These include the expansion of Heathrow Airport and the HS2, Northern rail and Crossrail 2 railway projects. The group also said the U.K. should aim to spend 1.2% of gross domestic product on infrastructure.“We need a long-term, compelling vision for our future,” said Fairbairn.Other requests include:Reforms to business rates and the national apprenticeships programAbolishing the government target on net migration and reducing the salary threshold for immigrants taking up key jobs. Improving energy efficiency and tightening building standards to help Britain meet it’s target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Urgently securing continuity trade deals with nations it currently deals with through EU-brokered agreements and reinforcing a commitment to raise research and development expenditure to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Lars Paulsson, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • British PM to hold emergency meeting on seized tanker Sun, 21 Jul 2019 17:26:13 -0400

    British PM to hold emergency meeting on seized tankerPrime Minister Theresa May will hold a meeting of Britain's emergencies committee on Monday to discuss Iran's seizure of a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf. In one of her final important acts as prime minister before resigning on Wednesday, May will chair a meeting of Britain's COBR emergencies committee at around 10:30 am (0930 GMT), her Downing Street office said. "As well as receiving the latest updates from ministers and officials, the COBR meeting will discuss the maintenance of the security of shipping in the Persian Gulf," a spokeswoman said in a brief statement.


  • Democrat senator details trip to US-Mexico border Sun, 21 Jul 2019 17:15:19 -0400

    Democrat senator details trip to US-Mexico borderCongressional Democrats returned from border facilities seeking to resolve the asylum issue as concerns over Iran tensions rise.


  • 1984: China Edition Sun, 21 Jul 2019 16:24:00 -0400

    1984: China EditionWhat to say when a Chinese colleague you admire tells you he is barred from traveling abroad since, as the border guard explained to him, the government believed he might “threaten national security.” This indignity followed a ban on his work. The injustice to him—an advocate of peaceful reform, not counterrevolutionary violence—is great.But the embarrassment for what purports to be a great power should be even greater. What does President Xi Jinping’s government so fear from someone who even when free to write was obscure in China and abroad? Could the slightest sign of dissent really destroy a putative global hegemon?Sadly, authoritarian injustice is not new to China. A better question is, when in that nation’s lengthy but tragic history have people been free? Only the form of oppression has changed.Once a great empire, China turned inward, dominated by status and hierarchy. The regime later fell victim first to the Europeans and later to the Japanese, who occupied “concessions” and seized territory. In the early twentieth century the emperor was ousted, but much of the country fell under the control of competing warlords. The later authoritarian Nationalist government enjoyed only incomplete authority. Then the country was ravaged by a brutal invasion by Japan, followed by a barbarous civil war.


  • UK car sector accelerates towards electric future Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:52:29 -0400

    UK car sector accelerates towards electric futureBritain's auto industry, seeking to swerve Brexit obstacles, is accelerating toward electrification as consumers shun high-polluting diesels, driven by rapid advances in technology and greener government policy. Four famous car brands born in Britain but now foreign-owned -- German-held Bentley and Mini, Indian-backed Jaguar Land Rover, and Chinese-controlled Lotus -- have each this month outlined plans for purely electric models to sit alongside their petrol vehicles. All-electric cars, which need to be charged from the mains, and hybrids, which combine electrics with petrol or gasoline engines, are gaining in popularity as more consumers turn away from the pollution-spewing internal combustion engine.


  • Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian comedian-turned-president on course for election win Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:42:48 -0400

    Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian comedian-turned-president on course for election winUkrainians gave their comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky a mandate to reboot the country’s politics on Sunday by handing his party a record score in parliamentary elections, exit polls showed. Zelensky’s Servant of the People party – named after the sitcom he starred in before his shock presidential win in April – took 43.9 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, according to combined figures from three pollsters. It was the highest score in a parliamentary election for any party since Ukraine gained its independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The pro-Moscow Opposition Platform-For Life came second with 11.5 percent, the polls said. The exit polls only showed results for the half of seats assigned by party lists. The rest, in which members are directly elected in their districts, will be crucial in determining how Zelensky will try to form a government. Full, official results will be announced Monday. Without a majority, he will need to form a coalition and has indicated a preference for another new political force, the Golos (Voice) party of rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. It took 6.3 percent, crossing the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament. The result is the culmination of a stunning turnaround in Ukrainian politics and will bring a host of newcomers into parliament and government. They will face a long list of challenges in a country heavily dependent on foreign aid and scarred by years of war with Russia-backed separatists. Speaking shortly after the exit polls were released, the 41-year-old Zelensky said his primary goals were to bring peace and tackle corruption. "Our main priorities – and I repeat this for every Ukrainian – are to end the war, return our prisoners and defeat the corruption that persists in Ukraine," he said at his party’s election headquarters. Zelensky’s victory in April was seen as a rejection of the country’s traditional elite for failing to end the separatist conflict, revive the economy or tackle widespread graft. Former president Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party Batkivshyna ("Fatherland") also entered parliament with 8.9 and 7.6 percent of the vote, according to the exit polls. Faced with a hostile parliament after his win, Zelensky quickly called snap elections and vowed to bring in a new generation of politicians to lead the country. Zelensky said after the exit polls that he would "be pleased to invite Mr. Vakarchuk for talks" on forming a coalition. He also said he was looking for a "new face and a specialist in the economy" to become the next prime minister. Vakarchuk, the 44-year-old lead vocalist of one of Ukraine’s most successful rock bands, Okean Elzy, only founded his party in May. He said after the exit polls that it was "too early" to talk about the specifics of a coalition but that he was "ready for talks with other political forces that have the same principles as us". Zinaida Kaplynenko reads her ballot paper before casting it in a mobile ballot box during Ukraine's parliamentary elections, Credit: Zenkovich/Tatania Both Zelensky and Vakarchuk packed their parties with young people new to politics and banned candidates who had previously served as lawmakers. Many voters seemed excited by the prospect of new political forces coming to power. Kateryna, a 31-year-old Kiev woman on maternity leave, said she cast her vote for Vakarchuk because she "believes in his young intelligent team". "It is the first time I am voting for someone because I like them, not because I have to choose the lesser evil," she said. More than 20 parties fielded candidates. The strong score for the Opposition Platform-For Life was expected as opinion polls had consistently shown the party in second place. One of the party’s top candidates, Viktor Medvedchuk, is close to Vladimir Putin, claiming the Russian president is his daughter’s godfather. The two met for talks in Russia just days before the vote. More than 13,000 people have been killed since the conflict with Moscow-backed separatists erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Sporadic fighting continues along the frontlines, with four Ukrainian soldiers killed by sniper fire and mine blasts since Friday. Only 424 of the 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, will be filled this election, as the rest represent Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, or territories controlled by separatists. Of the seats being filled, 225 members are elected from nationwide party lists, while the rest are directly elected in their districts.


  • New German defence chief pledges to speed up race to Nato 2pc spending target Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:05:14 -0400

    New German defence chief pledges to speed up race to Nato 2pc spending targetGermany’s new defence minister has picked an early fight inside the country’s troubled coalition, pledging to beef up military spending against the will of junior partners the Social Democrats. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will make it a priority to allocate a budget equivalent to 2 percent of the German economy to the Bundeswehr, the 56-year-old told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper in an interview published on Sunday. The woman known as “mini-Merkel” due to her loyalty to the Chancellor, took over as leader of the Christian Democrats from Angela Merkel at the end of 2018 and is set to take a run at the Chancellery in 2021 at the latest. “We made a clear commitment to NATO’s two percent goal. I know that we can’t get there from one day to the next, but I’m just as clear on the fact that we must get there in the end,” she said. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, who took over as defence minister on Wednesday, is likely to ignite yet another fire under Berlin’s tinder-dry coalition with her first concrete pledge in the role. After she struggled for popularity and recognition early on though, Ms Merkel parachuted her into the defence ministry after it was vacated by new European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen last week. Nato defence expenditure and major annual exercises involving US troops The defence ministry is a notoriously tricky portfolio in Germany. Chronic under-spending on equipment has left the Bundeswehr overstretched, while the army has been dogged recently by allegations it has done too little to tackle extremism in its ranks. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer appears to have come to the conclusion that a bigger budget is the only way to avoid embarrassing headlines about malfunctioning helicopters while also appeasing the US over defence targets. Germany committed itself to spending 2 percent of GDP on defence at a Nato conference in 2014. But its actual spending stills lags back at 1.3 percent with the Social Democrats reluctant to support a significant increase. Berlin’s foot dragging has been a source of fury for Donald Trump, the US president, who has repeatedly lambasted his NATO ally on Twitter. The Social Democrat-run treasury has set out the defence budget up until 2023 and plans to lower spending by a billion euros to €44 billion at the end of that timeline. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would use her influence “as party leader and defence minister” to fight for more spending at an autumn debate in the Bundestag on the budget.


  • President Zelenskiy Clinches Political Sweep in Ukraine Election Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:39:19 -0400

    President Zelenskiy Clinches Political Sweep in Ukraine Election(Bloomberg) -- Comedian-turned President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dominated Ukraine’s parliamentary ballot, capitalizing on pledges to crack down on corruption, fix the economy and end the conflict with Russian-backed separatists.Zelenskiy’s party rode a wave of public anger over the lack of progress flushing dirty officials from state institutions. His Servant of the People party -- named after the television show that propelled him to fame -- won a record 44% of the vote, according to an exit poll published after balloting ended Sunday.Like the main character of his show, a teacher who’s thrust into the position of head of state, Zelenskiy had no political experience before scoring a landslide win in April’s presidential vote. Since then, support for his party has tripled after he vowed to sweep out a political establishment that has failed to convincingly bring progress to the country of 42 million people since it ousted a Kremlin-backed leader five years ago.“We will not let Ukrainians down,” Zelenskiy, 41, said after declaring victory. “For us, the main things are to end the war, to secure the return of prisoners and to win the fight against corruption.”Zelenskiy invited the two-month-old Holos party led by Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the country’s most popular rock singer, to join him in coalition talks. Holos got 6.3%, according to the exit poll, which covered results for the party lists that will fill half of the assembly’s 450 seats.“People voted for changes and we are glad to be part of those changes,” Vakarchuk said. “Our red lines are very clear: We won’t speak to those who are against a course toward Europe, it’s key that the law is the same for everyone, and third is a free economy without oligarchs -- the authorities should be accountable to the people.”Voters punished more traditional parties, including that of former President Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who got 8.9% and 7.6%, according to the survey by three polling agencies. More than two thirds of the vote went to forces that support closer ties with the European Union and NATO.The former Soviet republic also cast ballots for individual candidates -- some backed by parties, some independent -- in single-seat constituencies that are being contested by oligarchs, sports stars, and showbiz celebrities, potentially complicating Zelenskiy’s promise to overhaul Ukraine. Partial results are expected starting early on Monday, with full data to be released later this week.“The way Zelenskiy has behaved in recent month inspires trust,” 39-year-old Oleksiy Voitsekhivskyi, a doctor in Kiev, said after voting. “I have only bad words to describe how the old parliament worked. That’s why I want new faces to adopt anti-corruption laws so that finally corrupt people will be in jail.”Zelenskiy said that, for the post of prime minister, he wanted to appoint a “professional economist” respected in Ukraine and in the West who hasn’t held that job or led a party. That fits the description of former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk, who has expressed interest, and former Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius.After the outgoing parliament blocked Zelenskiy’s efforts to pass anti-corruption laws, the president has rejected the idea of a tie-up with Poroshenko’s party. Support for political forces sympathetic to Russia was 11.5%, slightly more than five years ago. For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the two countries will mend ties despite the conflict, according to the transcript of a June 19 interview with American film director Oliver Stone.“Rapprochement is inevitable,” Putin said.Some concerns remain over how successful Zelenskiy will be in affecting change. Most candidates in Servant of the People are political neophytes and some of his appointments, as well as business links to billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, whose television channel airs his shows, have drawn criticism that he won’t be able to escape the orbit of the all-powerful oligarchs.Zelenskiy has pledged to revoke automatic immunity from prosecution for lawmakers and to step up anti-corruption efforts after the previous administration adopted laws only under intense pressure from voters and foreign creditors.He has also promised to renew cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. The Washington-based lender repeatedly held back financial assistance from Poroshenko’s administration due to its failure to push measures through the assembly, known as the Rada, to restructure the economy and fight graft.“I see the political will, but there are many obstacles,” said Balazs Jarabik, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Much will depend how Zelenskiy and his team can manage the state and the Rada differently than Poroshenko did.”(Updates with Zelenskiy’s comment in third paragraph, Vakarchuk in sixth.)\--With assistance from Yulia Surkova and Kateryna Choursina.To contact the reporters on this story: Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev at vverbyany1@bloomberg.net;Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Kushner to head to Mideast to push Palestinian economic plan Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:27:40 -0400

    Kushner to head to Mideast to push Palestinian economic planPresident Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is returning to the Mideast at month's end to promote the administration's $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians that they've rejected because it ignores their political demands. Kushner outlined the plan's ambitious investment and development goals at a Bahrain conference last month. It relies heavily on private sector investment in the West Bank, Gaza as well as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.


  • Ex-Israeli justice minister Shaked to head New Right party Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:23:48 -0400

    Ex-Israeli justice minister Shaked to head New Right partyFormer Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has assumed the leadership of her right-wing nationalist party ahead of September's unprecedented repeat elections. Party co-founder Naftali Bennett says he's stepping aside for Shaked. Both Bennett and Shaked were ministers in the previous government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was unable to muster a governing coalition in April's vote.


  • Teenage Brexit Party official says he helped expose US ambassador cables that enraged Donald Trump Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:00:21 -0400

    Teenage Brexit Party official says he helped expose US ambassador cables that enraged Donald TrumpScotland Yard risked being dragged into a politically charged row over Sir Kim Darroch’s emails after a teenager working for the Brexit Party said he was the middleman who obtained the classified documents. Steven Edginton, 19, who runs the Brexit Party’s social media feeds, insisted he passed the documents to the political journalist Isabel Oakeshott. Mr Edginton, who also describes himself as a freelance journalist, said he did not want his name on the articles, subsequently published in the mail on Sunday, “to avoid possible controversy”. But the key role of Mr Edginton in the leak will cause problems for the Metropolitan Police and for intelligence agencies in what is already a highly sensitive investigation. Sir Kim Darroch It raises the prospect of counter-terrorism officers having to raid the home of a Brexit Party official to try to get to the origin of the leak. Such a move would risk a political furore. One well-placed source said: “This inquiry is already so sensitive and Steve Edginton’s involvement complicates that.” A senior Government minister warned that raiding the Brexit Party - or anybody connected with it - was hugely problematic. “A political party’s computers would have to be seized,” said the minister, “Nobody is going to do that.” Mr Edginton broke his cover in an article for the Mail on Sunday, the tabloid newspaper, which first published details of Sir Kim’s diplomatic telegrams and other memos and letters.  The messages, sent from the Washington embassy to the Foreign Office, described Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” and “utterly dysfunctional”. The president reacted furiously, branding Sir Kim a “pompous fool” and “the wacky ambassador” before withdrawing a series of invitations to the White House. Sir Kim resigned a day after Boris Johnson refused to back him in a televised debate in the race to be Conservative Party leader. Donald Trump shaking hands with Sir Kim in 2018 In his lengthy account of the affair, Mr Edginton said he feared he could be arrested for his role but declared: “I am not the leaker - I am a young journalist - but I did play a critical role in the publication of a story that has reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic.” He said he had begun investigating earlier this year how the civil service was preparing for Brexit and examining an alleged pro-remain bias within it. He wrote: “There had been repeated reports claiming that Europhile mandarins have been quietly working to thwart the result of the referendum.  “I just wanted to discover the truth. This was not a Brexiteer plot to topple Sir Kim, nor was it some devilish scheme to torpedo the independence of the civil service by installing a political appointee in Washington. Instead, it was simply an honest journalistic endeavour.” Sir Kim Darroch | Profile He said he was passed a letter written by Sir Kim describing the White House as “inept” and realising its significance took it to Ms Oakeshott. Mr Edginton had worked for Ms Oakeshott as a researcher. Mr Edginton wrote: “I appreciate that my CV – and my pro-Brexit views – will inevitably fuel the conspiracy theories but I want to be absolutely clear: the leak of Sir Kim’s cables had absolutely nothing to do with the Brexit party.” Scotland Yard launched its criminal investigation into a suspected breach of the Official Secrets Act in the wake of the resignation of Sir Kim and the damage done to the national interest.  Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of counter terrorism, provoked a furore when he suggested editors could be prosecuted for publishing sensitive material related to the leak.


  • Militants bomb, derail phosphate train in central Syria Sun, 21 Jul 2019 12:39:32 -0400

    Militants bomb, derail phosphate train in central SyriaSyria's transport ministry said a freight train carrying phosphate derailed and caught fire Sunday after getting hit by explosives planted on the tracks by militants in the country's center. The government-owned train was transporting phosphate from mines in Khunayfis in Homs province, and the ministry said technical teams were working to repair the railway and restore traffic. Last week, militants also targeted a gas pipeline in Homs province.


  • New audio shows UK could not prevent Iran takeover of tanker Sun, 21 Jul 2019 12:05:48 -0400

    New audio shows UK could not prevent Iran takeover of tankerThe release Sunday of an audio recording has shed new light on the seizure of a British-flagged tanker at the hands of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as tensions flare in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The audio released by maritime security risk firm Dryad Global shows that a British frigate was too far away from the targeted tanker to keep it from being diverted into an Iranian port despite U.K. efforts to keep it from being boarded. On the recording, a stern-voiced British naval officer insists that the U.K.-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero must be allowed to sail through the Strait of Hormuz even as Iranian paramilitary forces demand — successfully — that the vessel change course.


  • Japan’s Abe Falls Short of Supermajority in Election Win Sun, 21 Jul 2019 12:02:25 -0400

    Japan’s Abe Falls Short of Supermajority in Election Win(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed victory in Sunday’s upper house election while falling short of securing a supermajority to quickly push through his plans to make the first revisions to the country’s pacifist constitution.With the final vote tally not yet complete, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its partner Komeito have won at least 69 of the 124 seats up for grabs, public broadcaster NHK projected. Given the 70 seats they hold in the uncontested section of the chamber, this amounts to a simple majority of the total 245 seats.Abe, on course to be Japan’s longest-serving prime minister in November, said the vote showed the public approved of his government’s guidance of the world’s third-largest economy. “Everyone said it would be no easy task to get a majority while promising a tax hike, but I think we were able to get the public’s understanding,” he told NHK.He and other proponents of constitutional change fell short of the 85 seats that would have given them a two-thirds majority needed to send any proposed constitutional revision to a national referendum, NHK said.Abe believes he can convince lawmakers to change their minds. “The two-thirds majority needed for constitutional reform is something we want to build from here on in through debate in parliament’s constitutional commissions,” he told NHK.Abe wants to add wording that makes explicit the legality of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution -- though this idea divides the electorate. The document has remained unchanged since it was enacted in the aftermath of World War II.Tax HikeThe sales tax increase is intended to help rein in the globe’s biggest debt load, which stems from increased social welfare spending for Japan’s rapidly aging population. The government has raised the tax twice since it was introduced in 1989, and both times saw an economic slide.Even though the tax hike was opposed by 57% of respondents to NHK’s exit poll Sunday, it didn’t stop Abe.The premier also laid out some plans for his government, saying Japan wants to play a role in calming the situation in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.K. is in talks with the U.S. and other allies about beefing up their military presence in the Persian Gulf to deal with the rising threat to shipping they say is posed by Iran.Voters have also supported his hard line on recent disputes with neighboring South Korea, and polls have shown they appreciate his efforts to build a relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump amid concerns over the stability of the U.S.-Japan alliance.Abe’s economic prescription of unprecedented monetary easing combined with government spending and regulatory reform has achieved only partial success since he returned to office in 2012. But near-full employment has helped buffer criticism stemming from scandals, cabinet gaffes and economic faults, while a splintered opposition has failed to take advantage of the shortcomings.The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which opposes both the tax hike and constitutional change, is set to solidify its position as the country’s largest opposition party, NHK said. Among other opposition lawmakers, a man with the neurological disease ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, was elected from the newly launched Reiwa Shinsengumi, the Mainichi newspaper reported.“Abe comes out of this election basically as strong as before -- he avoids lame duck status,” said Tobias Harris, Japan analyst for Teneo Intelligence in Washington. “He can still threaten a snap election.”The premier is free to call an election in the more powerful lower house at any time. The last election to the lower chamber was in 2017, meaning he need not do so for another two years.(Adds supermajority shortfall in first paragraph, Abe quotes in third and fifth paragraphs.)\--With assistance from Marika Katanuma, Shiho Takezawa, Takashi Hirokawa and Emi Nobuhiro.To contact the reporters on this story: Sophie Jackman in Tokyo at sjackman5@bloomberg.net;Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at ireynolds1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyung Bok Cho at kcho7@bloomberg.net, Jon Herskovitz, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Mexico City Says Ex-Government Changed Data to Hide Crime Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:52:08 -0400

    Mexico City Says Ex-Government Changed Data to Hide Crime(Bloomberg) -- Mexico City’s government has been under attack by critics who say violence has spun out of control since a new, left-leaning administration took over in late 2018.Run by Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum since December, the city now says that the previous administration extensively under-reported crime. As a result, while it appears that the crime rate has shot up in 2019 under new leadership, by some measures it’s actually fallen.Reviews of tens of thousands of criminal files from 2018 show homicides didn’t rise by more than a third early this year, as previously reported, said Ernestina Godoy, Mexico City’s chief prosecutor. Violent crimes as a whole have dropped by 8% this year, she said.On Saturday, Mexico City released figures showing homicides rose to 786 from January through June, up 16% from 678 a year earlier. Previous figures, collated before the results of the review, had shown a 36% year-on-year jump for January-May.That’s still far too many, Godoy added. “This is not being done to justify our government,” she said. “We won’t deny the situation we are in.”Registry ‘Distorted’The new figures are bound to raise questions about how trustworthy any government’s crime statistics are in Mexico. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won election in a landslide a year ago on promises to crack down on rampant corruption and violence. Sheinbaum, Mexico City’s first elected female mayor, is a member of his party and a close ally.Godoy says United Nations officials oversaw the process of reclassifying the criminal cases.“The registry was distorted,” Godoy said in an interview at her office. “In cases of rape they were classified as sexual harassment or abuse, or just injuries.”Out of 214,000 files reviewed from 2018, more than 24,000 so-called high-impact criminal cases had been doctored, she said. Rape last year had actually been double the number reported by the administration of Miguel Angel Mancera, mayor since 2012.A spokeswoman for Mancera, now a senator, said he was traveling and couldn’t immediately comment. He denied the allegations when they were first made by Godoy in January in more general terms.(Updates with latest homicide figures in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nacha Cattan in Mexico City at ncattan@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Stena Bulk has asked to visit crew of seized tanker Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:32:55 -0400

    Stena Bulk has asked to visit crew of seized tankerStena Bulk, the British operator of a tanker seized by Iran, has made a formal request to visit the 23 crew members of the Stena Impero and is awaiting a formal response, it said on Sunday. "I can confirm a formal request for permission to visit the 23 crew members of the Stena Impero has been made to the authorities at the Port of Bandar Abbas," Stena Bulk President and CEO Erik Hanell said in a statement. "The request has been acknowledged, but we await a formal response.


  • Net closes on leaker who cost ambassador Kim Darroch his job, as teenage Brexit Party employee comes forward to claim scoop Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:32:00 -0400

    Net closes on leaker who cost ambassador Kim Darroch his job, as teenage Brexit Party employee comes forward to claim scoopThe investigation into the leak of the confidential dispatches of Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, is progressing faster than expected with extensive evidence being collected about a number of suspects, according to security sources.Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorist Branch, GCHQ and another government security agency have been involved in the investigation which is believed to have rapidly narrowed down the identity of suspects, despite Sir Kim’s emails having been made potentially available to more than a hundred people.Officials close to the inquiry believe “there was a degree of orchestration” behind the theft of emails and their subsequent publication in a newspaper, and are considering “all motives, including political ones”, they say.A 19-year-old freelance journalist has claimed in the Mail on Sunday, the newspaper which published Sir Kim’s emails, that he was a conduit for the leak. He had obtained the material, he said, while talking to civil servants for a research project.Steven Edginton works as a “digital strategist” in Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and is also “chief digital strategist” at the Leave Means Leave group.He has contributed to Brexit Central’s website and worked for pro-leave website Westmonster, and the right-wing TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group.Sir Kim’s dispatches were highly critical of the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of Donald Trump’s administration, and the US president’s relationship with truth.It led to a furious reaction from Mr Trump, who kept up a barrage of insults towards the ambassador for a number of days along with demands for him to be recalled from Washington.Sir Kim resigned after Boris Johnson, in a debate with Jeremy Hunt in the contest for the Conservative party leadership, repeatedly failed to offer an assurance that he would keep the ambassador in place if he became prime minister.Sir Kim had been scathingly criticised by leading Brexiters, including Mr Farage, who demanded he be replaced by someone is pro-Brexit and also sympathetic to Mr Trump.Asked about Mr Edginton and the leak, Mr Farage told The Independent: “I know him, he is a young man, a freelance and he has done what every other journalist would have done given such stuff.“I did not know his part in the leak until I read about it. He works for us, I knew he had also some other freelance activities. I can’t understand all this fuss, after all what was passed to him wasn’t a national secret, it wasn’t the nuclear codes, so I don’t see what all this is about.”Asked whether whoever stole the ambassador’s emails and passed them on should be prosecuted, Mr Farage responded: “I don’t know what the terms of his contract were, whether it was covered by the Official Secrets Act. But I think it does show how fed up many people are about the way the civil service has been politicised over Brexit, there is real anger about this. There have been plenty of leaks, I think the establishment is totally overreacting to this particular one.”Mr Johnson, after facing severe criticism, including from a huge number of Tory MPs, for failing to stand by the ambassador, declared his wish that whoever was guilty of the leak “should be run down, caught and eviscerated”.Mr Trump meanwhile, in a volte-face of the type for which he has become known, asserted later that the ambassador had said “very good things” about him and was “sort of referring to other people” when criticising the White House.Mr Edginton tweeted in April this year “after the establishment have betrayed Brexit, we are currently working on the fight back. All efforts are being made”. Another tweet said: “Ministers are simply fed documents by Remainer civil servants and without question follow their advice and order.”He insisted in his newspaper article, however, that there was no political motivation to him passing on the documents. It was, he wanted to stress, “simply an honest journalistic endeavour … As a 19-year-old freelance journalist with a passion for politics, I was looking for a big project through which to develop my career”, leading him to speak to “current and retired civil servants” and ultimately gain access to the emails.A senior security source refused to comment on Mr Edginton’s claims, saying it “did not materially change” the course of the investigation.One person, according to officials, was primarily responsible for stealing the emails and although this may have been an “opportunistic” theft, the inquiry is looking into the alleged plan involving a number of people in the way it was then disseminated.In his article, Mr Edginton said of Sir Kim’s emails: “I was shocked by the brutal language from a supposedly impartial diplomat ... Sir Kim’s comments about Trump were jaw-dropping and suggested a lack of impartiality.”But he went on to observe, rather confusingly: “Sir Kim was simply articulating what many in Washington and Whitehall have said about the president and his advisers since he took office.”Mr Edginton said he did not regret “my role in the story”, although he said the furore it has generated has caused him to lose weight and struggle to get to sleep. He was now “suspicious of everything”, recounting how “last week I was eating my lunch near the Houses of Parliament when I spotted a middle-aged man dressed as a tourist taking pictures of me. He then furtively ducked behind a tree before, I think, getting into a white van. Was it the security services? Am I being followed? I will probably never know...”According to pressure group Hope not Hate, Mr Edginton has been associated with right-wing group Turning Point UK (TPUK), a pro-Trump organisation in America which has been endorsed by a number of Brexiteers, including Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg.However, another major pro-Brexit figure, Aaron Banks, described a leading member of TPUK, John Mappin of jewellery family Mappin & Webb, as “a total fruit loop”.Mr Banks, who, it was recently alleged, was providing Mr Farage with a furnished Chelsea home, a car and driver, and money to promote him in America, claimed in his book Bad Boys of Brexit Mr Mappin had told him “he’s trying to launch a super-powered brain-control system that requires delivery facilities in 50 languages in every major city”.Mr Mappin, a scientologist, had made Facebook postings about “a new breakthrough in scientific and SPIRITUAL TECHNOLOGY” made by the movement’s founder, L Ron Hubbard.


  • B-1Bs Around the World Nonstop at Mach 0.92: The Legendary 1995 Operation Coronet Bat Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:00:00 -0400

    B-1Bs Around the World Nonstop at Mach 0.92: The Legendary 1995 Operation Coronet BatOver the course of the 36-hour mission, the B-1s took on some 2.5 million pounds (1.13 million kilograms) of fuel, hit all of their designated targets (within 15ft/4.6m at Pachino) and set three world records in the C1.Q (330,000-440,000lb or 149,685-199,581kg) Class.Curtis LeMay first flew KC-135A 55-3126 to Buenos Aires in November 1957 to demonstrate the operational capability of American airpower in the face of Soviet ICBM potential. For most observers, however, Operation Long Legs was a publicity flight. Some 15 years later, Americans had become jaded by multiple moon-walking missions, the quagmire in Vietnam, and the self-destruction of a president. There was little public interest in notable aviation accomplishments. Military fliers, however, understood the practical applications of record-setting flights and pursued them without expectation of public accolades. In March 1980, for example, two B-52Hs from K I Sawyer AFB, MI, flew around the world non-stop, loitering over the Gulf of Arabia to monitor Soviet naval developments there. Hardly a grandstanding stunt, the flight showed that even without basing rights in a newly anti-American Iran, the United States could still keep tabs on the Soviet presence in the oil rich Straits of Hormuz. Strategic airpower trumped local weakness.


  • Israeli minister boasts his country has been 'killing Iranians' Sun, 21 Jul 2019 09:30:15 -0400

    Israeli minister boasts his country has been 'killing Iranians'An Israeli minister boasted Sunday that his country was the only one that "has been killing Iranians", after tensions between Britain and Iran rose in the Gulf. Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi's comments to public radio were a reference to Israeli strikes in neighbouring Syria against Iranian and Hezbollah military targets. Asked if he feared that Israel would not receive the backing of the United States in the case of a conflict with Iran, Hanegbi suggested that Tehran would avoid such a scenario.


  • UK finance minister strikes blow as Johnson prepares to become PM Sun, 21 Jul 2019 07:55:09 -0400

    UK finance minister strikes blow as Johnson prepares to become PMBritish finance minister Philip Hammond said Sunday he would make a point of resigning before Boris Johnson became prime minister, saying he could never agree to his Brexit strategy. Former London mayor Johnson is the runaway favourite to win the governing Conservative Party's leadership contest on Tuesday and then replace Prime Minister Theresa May when she quits the premiership on Wednesday. The postal ballot of 160,000 grassroots party members is expected to return Johnson, 55, as the new Conservative leader over his contender, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.


  • Iran's Zarif calls for 'prudence and foresight' as tensions mount Sun, 21 Jul 2019 07:32:50 -0400

    Iran's Zarif calls for 'prudence and foresight' as tensions mountIran's top diplomat said on Sunday that only "prudence and foresight" could alleviate tensions between his country and Britain after Tehran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker. "Having failed to lure @realDonaldTrump into War of the Century, and fearing collapse of his #B_Team, @AmbJohnBolton is turning his venom against the UK in hopes of dragging it into a quagmire," Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.


  • UPDATE 1-Chinese companies looking to buy U.S. farm products -Xinhua Sun, 21 Jul 2019 07:17:53 -0400

    UPDATE 1-Chinese companies looking to buy U.S. farm products -XinhuaSome Chinese companies are seeking new purchases of U.S. agricultural products, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing authorities, as Beijing and Washington look for ways to end a protracted trade war. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at last month's G20 summit in Osaka to restart trade talks that stalled in May. Trump said at the time he would not impose new tariffs and U.S. officials said China agreed to make agricultural purchases.


  • Brexit Is Dead, Long Live Brexit: How Britain Can Still Finalize Its European Divorce Sun, 21 Jul 2019 07:00:00 -0400

    Brexit Is Dead, Long Live Brexit: How Britain Can Still Finalize Its European DivorceThe only real threat posed by a hard Brexit is the prospect of cataclysmic technical barriers being thrown up, like the nonrecognition of British commercial aircraft licenses in the EU. But of course these too cut both ways. It’s hard to imagine EU airlines giving up their precious landing slots at London’s Heathrow airport, which have been valued at $75 million for a single slot. Or EU banks giving up access to London’s capital markets.When Britain’s prime minister Theresa May took office in 2016 with a pledge that “Brexit means Brexit,” she held all the cards in negotiations over leaving the European Union. She had a direct popular mandate, if not for herself, then at least for Brexit. Her EU opponents had to coordinate the negotiating positions of twenty-seven different countries, several of them possible exit candidates themselves, and many of them (Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and others) at loggerheads with the EU executive authorities in Brussels.


  • The Latest: Israel minister says strikes deter Iran Sun, 21 Jul 2019 06:56:25 -0400

    The Latest: Israel minister says strikes deter IranAn Israeli Cabinet minister says Iran knows "who not to mess with" because Israel is the only country in the world that is killing Iranian operatives. Tzachi Hanegbi spoke to Israel Radio on Sunday after Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.


  • Why North Korea Won the Handshake Summit Sun, 21 Jul 2019 06:30:00 -0400

    Why North Korea Won the Handshake SummitOn June 30, 2019, President Donald Trump, accompanied by Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea, crossed the border at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). In doing so, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step onto North Korean soil. Also present was South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who is keen to help mediate between America and North Korea in hopes of reviving the denuclearization talks which stalled during the Hanoi summit.This unprecedented three-way summit appears to have been essentially a made-for-TV spectacular designed for Trump and Kim’s domestic audiences. Trump’s publicity machine constantly emphasizes the feel-good one-to-one personal relationship between Trump and Kim, but a fundamental question remains: is there or will there be any actual progress on denuclearization? So what did Kim get from the meeting? It seems he is closer to persuading Trump to accept the North Korean agenda: no pressure for regime change, and a freeze on North Korea’s missile and nuclear program instead of a ban, thus tacitly recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power. Probably it means that the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear facility will be traded for the partial lifting of sanctions against North Korea. If this is the outcome, then clearly Kim will be the big winner of the meeting. And what about Moon? Despite his broad smiles during the photo session, he seems ready to make significant concessions to the United States. These may include joining in with sanctions against Huawei or participating in U.S.-led Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea. Moreover, Moon might buy more U.S.-made weapons and systems or agree to increased burden-sharing to support America’s military presence. Any such concessions would reveal Moon as a serious loser from the meeting.


  • U.K.'s Hammond to Quit If Johnson Becomes Premier: Brexit Update Sun, 21 Jul 2019 06:22:22 -0400

    U.K.'s Hammond to Quit If Johnson Becomes Premier: Brexit Update(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit on Twitter, join our Facebook group and sign up to our Brexit Bulletin.U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said he’ll quit his post if Boris Johnson wins the Conservative Party leadership contest on Monday, because of his own opposition to a possible no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.Key Developments:Michael Gove set for more responsibility in Johnson-led governmentHammond says he’ll quit on Wednesday if Johnson wins leadership contestDefense Minister Tobias Ellwood says U.K. looking at options on IranHammond Says He’ll Quit if Johnson Succeeds May (10:45 a.m.)Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said he plans to quit his post on Wednesday if Boris Johnson beats Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the race to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May. In a BBC TV interview, he cited Johnson’s demand that members of his government should accept the chance of a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31."That is not something I could ever sign up to," Hammond said. "It’s very important that a prime minister is able to have a chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy, and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday."Asked if he’d also quit if Hunt were to pull of a surprise and beat the favorite, Hammond suggested he wouldn’t, saying "Jeremy’s position is more nuanced and I haven’t heard him express clearly a requirement for a sort of loyalty pledge around the Oct. 31 no-deal exit."Ireland Pushes Back Against Johnson Proposals (10:30 a.m.)Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney on Sunday pushed back against a number of Brexit positions espoused by Boris Johnson. In a BBC interview, he said Ireland isn’t prepared to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May and won’t drop the Irish backstop provision in it.“If the approach of the new British PM is that they’re going to tear up the withdrawal agreement then I think that we’re in trouble,” Coveney said. “It’s important to say very clearly if respectfully that the facts don’t change around Brexit.”Coveney also said Johnson’s suggestion to keep no-tariff and no-quota trade after a no-deal Brexit by relying on the World Trade Organization’s GATT treaty isn’t a “viable option at all.” He did say, however, that Ireland is prepared to countenance a different vision of the future relationship between the U.K. and EU than that advanced by May. Ireland would also look at realistic options for alternative arrangements to ensure frictionless trade at the border with Northern Ireland.U.K. Looking at ‘Options’ on Iran: Defense Minister (9:15 a.m.)The U.K. is looking at “a series of options” on how to deal with the situation in Iran, Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood said on Sunday, adding that Britain wants a “professional relationship” with the Middle East nation.“We’ve seen a ratcheting up of tensions in the Middle East,” Ellwood said in a Sky News interview. “We need to try and de-escalate this.”Ellwood also said the U.K. is “absolutely committed” to maintaining a military presence in the Persian Gulf and keeping the Strait of Hormuz open. He warned the U.K. needs to invest more in defense, including the Royal Navy. “That’s something the next prime minister will need to recognize,” he said.Brexit Mustn’t Detract from Iran: Former Navy Chief (Earlier)Alan West, a member of the House of Lords and former chief of naval staff, warned the next prime minister that there’s a “very real risk” of war in the Middle East and that they cannot ignore the situation in the Persian Gulf.“Whoever the next prime minister is, he is going to face a major international crisis as soon as he is in post,” West wrote in The Observer. “It cannot be ignored because of Brexit.”West said the U.K. should make clear to Iran that while up until now Britain has tried to persuade the U.S. to ease sanctions on the middle eastern nation, it will now back stronger sanctions unless Iran releases the British tanker.Coveney: Ireland Will Engage with Next U.K. Premier (Earlier)Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said his country will “work closely” with the next prime minister to safeguard common interests. Writing in the Sunday Times, he said Ireland’s one red line is to ensure the peace process in Northern Ireland isn’t put at risk. He warned of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit, which he said would “cause huge damage to us all.”While Coveney said the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May isn’t up for negotiation, he extended an olive branch to the new leader by stressing that Ireland’s goal remains a future relationship with the U.K. that renders “unnecessary” the so-called backstop -- the part of the deal that both candidates say needs to be dropped.Gove Set for Cabinet Promotion under Johnson (Earlier)Both the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph report that Boris Johnson’s one-time nemesis Michael Gove, who scuppered his bid in 2016 for the party leadership, is set for a promotion if Johnson wins the leadership contest. The Sunday Times says the environment secretary may be put in charge of the communities department, with responsibility for increasing housebuilding. The Telegraph suggests he may be given added responsibilities for climate change while staying in his current role.To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, ;Andrew Davis at abdavis@bloomberg.net, Lars Paulsson, Sam UnstedFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Teenage Journalist Behind Darroch Leak Denies Link to Brexit Sun, 21 Jul 2019 05:56:33 -0400

    Teenage Journalist Behind Darroch Leak Denies Link to Brexit(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit on Twitter, join our Facebook group and sign up to our Brexit Bulletin.A teenage freelance reporter who worked on the story that revealed unflattering comments by Britain’s ambassador to the U.S. about President Donald Trump says his reporting wasn’t linked to any pro-Brexit plot.Steven Edginton, 19, wrote in the Mail on Sunday that his reporting on an internal cable to London from Washington ambassador Kim Darroch was part of a seven-month investigation into how the British civil service is preparing for Brexit, even though the teenager admits he also helps run social media accounts for the Brexit Party.“I am sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but this was not a Brexiteer plot to topple Sir Kim, nor was it some devilish scheme to torpedo the independence of the Civil Service by installing a political appointee in Washington,” Edginton wrote. “Instead, it was simply an honest journalistic endeavor.”Darroch called Trump’s administration “inept” and “utterly dysfunctional” in an internal letter from June 2017, according to a July 7 article in the Mail on Sunday by Edginton and another freelancer, Isabel Oakeshott. Trump responded by calling Darroch a “pompous fool” and said he’d cut off all contact.The episode dominated political debate in the U.K., and put pressure on Boris Johnson, who is likely to succeed Theresa May as prime minister next week. Johnson, a former foreign secretary, refused to back Darroch during a televised debate.It also led to British authorities saying they’d investigate the source of the leak. Edginton said he was read the contents of Darroch’s letter by a “source.” He said in today’s article that he suspects he’s under surveillance by security services.To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Lars Paulsson, Sam UnstedFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • 2020 Democrats Are Starting to Turn Obama’s Legacy Against Biden Sun, 21 Jul 2019 05:09:15 -0400

    2020 Democrats Are Starting to Turn Obama’s Legacy Against BidenPhoto Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyFormer Vice President Joe Biden has used Barack Obama’s beloved status among Democratic voters to insulate him from criticism from the massive field of candidates jockeying to be the next president. But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration as evidence that Biden’s not up to the task of leading the next one. “Barack Obama, personally, is incredibly popular among Democratic primary voters,” Karthik Ganapathy, a progressive consultant now running his own firm, told The Daily Beast. “And also at the same time, there’s a growing recognition that income and wealth inequality got worse under his eight years, the climate crisis got worse during his eight years, deportations went up during his time in office, and so on.”Can the Obama Coalition Outlast Obama?The idea that the Obama legacy would be anything other than a massive positive for Biden as he navigates the 2020 Democratic party has been treated as indisputable within Democratic circles. And for good reason. A CNN poll taken in early 2018 found that he had a 97 percent favorable rating among Democrats. For a while, fellow Democrats running for the White House seemed content to simply avoid challenging the former VP as he repeatedly referenced his time in the Obama administration when touting his work on health care and beating back attacks over his record on race relations. But that hesitancy has softened in recent weeks. On issues stemming from immigration to health care and foreign policy, the 2020 candidates have been increasingly critical in their public assessments of the Obama administration. And they’ve used opportunities from the debate stage to candidate forums to try and turn Biden’s ties to the former president from an overwhelming asset into something more complicated.Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign has used Obama’s own words to challenge Biden’s notion that Obamacare simply needs to be built upon. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) challenged Biden over the Obama administration's deportation policies. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) backed off support for the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal as originally written. And Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) has attacked Biden for a naivete about dealing with Republicans—in what has been interpreted as an implicit rebuke of Obama’s own failure to fully grasp GOP recalcitrance. The subtle targeting of Biden has come as Democratic activists and progressives have continued to grapple with the Obama legacy as well. In particular, the Trump administration's family separation policy and inhumane conditions in detention facilities has sparked a broader conversation among Democratic voters about whether the Obama administration’s own deportation policies laid the groundwork for the current controversies. Biden to Get Rematch With Harris in Detroit Democratic DebateAt least two times in the last month, protesters have faced down Biden to demand an apology for the three million deportations that occurred during the Obama administration. Activists with Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrants rights organization, held a protest at Biden’s Philadelphia campaign headquarters over a week ago and subsequently confronted him at a New Hampshire campaign stop. Through their “Dignity 2020” plan, they called on Biden and his other competitors in the field to pledge to end detention and deportation, immediately legalize the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and reunite families separated during the current and past administration. “We wanted the general public to understand that just defeating Trump in 2020 is only part of the solution,” Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, an organizer with the group, told The Daily Beast. “And there’s a lot of people that think that if Trump was no longer in the White House that the immigration crisis would go away and that’s just not true.” Rodriguez, who is now a citizen but lived undocumented for 10 years, said they’re closely tracking how other candidates have been responding to questions about Obama’s immigration record and are tentatively planning to have a presence in Detroit leading up to the next Democratic presidential debate. Already, they’ve seen some candidates take a harder look at the legacy. During the first Democratic debate in Miami in late June, Sen. Harris made a point of voicing dissent with President Obama’s use of the Secure Communities program, which allowed for local authorities to share fingerprints of those in jail with federal authorities. Obama ended the practice in 2014 but Trump restored it in 2017. “On this issue, I disagreed with my president, because the policy was to allow deportation of people who by ICE's own definition were non-criminals,” Harris said, though the degree to which she did is somewhat questionable. More recently, Julián Castro who served as the secretary of housing and urban development under Obama, said that he believed the administration had been too harsh when it came to immigration, a shift from prior stances. “I have learned the lessons of the past. It seems like Vice President Biden hasn’t,” he was quoted as saying at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention last week. Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid InternshipsBut the criticism has extended beyond the issue of immigration. In the first debate, Booker said that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a landmark foreign policy achievement in Obama’s second term, could have been better. Many, including Biden, have also introduced sweeping climate change plans with hallmarks of the Green New Deal and taken a No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, which activists have seen as a necessary corrective to the Obama administration’s lack of action on the drastic threat of climate change. “We would love to see candidates pressure Biden on that legacy, specifically looking at the increase in oil and gas drilling on public lands, in the U.S. in general,” Garrett Blad, a spokesperson for the climate action group Sunrise Movement, said, noting that a climate-only debate could foster these kinds of discussions. “And question him on those things. We’re glad to see that Biden has taken the No Fossil Fuel money pledge and has done what Obama didn’t do in denying that influence of the oil and gas executives and lobbyists on his campaign.” And this past week, as Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have offered differing plans for the nation’s health-care system, the latter has pointed to Obama’s own language about Medicare for All being a “good new idea” and hit the former vice president for being too timid in his desire to build off of Obamacare. Biden's campaign declined to respond on the record. But some Obama veterans have not been surprised that the legacy they build is now being more directly challenged. But while they encouraged candidates to have a conversation about improving on the Obama administration, they also cautioned that it needed to be done carefully. “It’s imperative for all candidates to offer an agenda that builds on what Barack Obama accomplished and there is room for good faith criticism of the things we didn't do or could have done better,” Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to the president said. “However, Obama has a 96-percent approval rating among Democrats so a strategy to beat Biden by going after the Obama legacy seems unlikely to succeed.”But the demands of the moment, from inequality to mounting student loan debt and a global climate crisis, have led a majority of the field to aim even higher than the lofty ambitions of Obama’s first presidential campaign.“If in 2008, we needed change, in 2020 we need results,” Rebecca Katz, a longtime progressive Democratic consultant, said. “That’s the difference.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • Iran says probe into seized ship depends on crew cooperation Sun, 21 Jul 2019 04:19:33 -0400

    Iran says probe into seized ship depends on crew cooperationIran said on Sunday that the speed of its investigation into a British-flagged tanker depends on the cooperation of its crew, after ignoring calls to hand back the vessel. The Stena Impero tanker was impounded with its 23 crew members on board at the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it on Friday. The Guards on Saturday released video footage showing a ship with the Stena Impero's markings being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend down a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.


  • Cancerous: What One Expert Called U.S. Military Spending. That's Wrong. Sun, 21 Jul 2019 03:43:00 -0400

    Cancerous: What One Expert Called U.S. Military Spending. That's Wrong.America needs to have a serious debate about the nature of its national defense and associated budget.Questions such as how the country should deal with the rising challenge of China, Russia’s adventurism, as well as the threats posed by the rogue regimes of Iran and North Korea need serious consideration and discussion.That’s why Fareed Zakaria’s article, “Defense spending is America’s cancerous bipartisan consensus,” published in The Washington Post, is so disappointing. It advances a superficial and non-serious argument on an immensely important national issue.The author asserts that America’s defense budget is “out-of-control, lacking strategic coherence, utterly mismanaged, ruinously wasteful and yet eternally expanding.”For his supporting proof Zakaria cites a series of anecdotes and folklore. For example, the now apocryphal $14,000 toilet seats (from decades ago) or more recently, expensive coffee cups purchased by the Air Force.  But one or two examples of over-spending does not meet the burden of proof for “utter mismanagement.” Zakaria further references an essay recently written by self-described peace activist Jessica Matthews, who is critical of one way the defense budget is assessed, unsurprisingly finding fault with the data that shows our defense spending as a percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product is at a historic low.


  • China Steps Up Defense of Xinjiang Policies in Government Report Sun, 21 Jul 2019 03:04:25 -0400

    China Steps Up Defense of Xinjiang Policies in Government Report(Bloomberg) -- China issued a defense of its policies in the Xinjiang region where its detention of ethnic Uighurs has drawn criticism from the U.S. and other western nations. Xinjiang is an "inseparable part" of China, and internal and external hostile forces including separatists, religious extremists and terrorists are distorting history and facts to split the country apart, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It cited a white paper on the history of the northwestern province published Sunday in Chinese.At the United Nations earlier this month, the U.S. and 21 other mostly Western nations urged China to end its mass detentions of as many as one million Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority.The “transformation through education” camps in the far western region of Xinjiang have prompted calls for sanctions from lawmakers, human rights advocates and religious groups. While China contests the number detained, the government has defended the crackdown as necessary to fight terrorism and improve Uighurs’ economic prospects after years of unrest and attacks.Ethnic cultures in Xinjiang have historically reflected elements of Chinese culture, and the Arab civilization had an influence only at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries when Islam spread in the region, according to the paper called "Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang.""The Uighur conversion to Islam was not a voluntary choice made by the common people, but a result of religious wars and imposition by the ruling class," according to the paper. Buddhism was once the predominant religion in Xinjiang, it said, adding that now, a significant number of people in Xinjiang do not follow any religion, and many Uighurs practice other religions.Xinjiang progressed in the past when there was more cultural diversity, Xinhua reported from a section of the white paper."Having a stronger sense of identity with Chinese culture is essential to the prosperity and development of ethnic cultures in Xinjiang," according to the paper.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Feifei Shen in Beijing at fshen11@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Malcolm ScottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Looks Like a Winner. But Is He a Leader? Sun, 21 Jul 2019 02:00:02 -0400

    Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Looks Like a Winner. But Is He a Leader?(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, is set to win Sunday’s parliamentary election, gaining a near-majority that would hand the novice president more power than his predecessor enjoyed. What Zelenskiy is going to do with it is largely still a mystery.Ukraine’s constitution places the responsibility for forming the cabinet in the parliament’s hands. This means Zelenskiy, elected in April on promises of draining the political and bureaucratic swamp, has had his hands tied so far: The outgoing parliament, which he dismissed soon after taking office in May in order to hold an early election, has been hostile to him. (Because Servant of the People was registered only last year, it had no sitting members of the legislative body.) Zelenskiy, for example, got into a public row with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who failed to consult him as he continued former President Petro Poroshenko’s rigid, unproductive line in the matter of freeing 24 Ukrainian sailors held captive in Russia. The president has been unable to get the parliament to dismiss Klimkin.So Zelenskiy, a former comedian and TV producer, focused on running his party’s election campaign rather than trying to govern. His approach was two-pronged: Proving to voters that he’s going to be relentlessly demanding of Ukraine's bureaucracy and political class and showing that he’s willing and able to de-escalate the conflict with Russia.To the former end, he traveled around Ukraine and spoke harshly with various officials. In Boryspil, a small city just east of Kiev, he kicked a city council official out of a meeting, denouncing him as a “highwayman” and a “devil.” “Do you consider me an idiot?” he asked Oleksandr Vlasov, head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service during a meeting in Odessa before asking for his resignation. (Vlasov resigned, though Zelenskiy had no power to fire him). In the industrial city of Zaporizhzhya, he made the mayor promise to resign if an important bridge isn’t fixed by October 15.These fireworks have been somewhat reminiscent of Nikita Khrushchev, who once ran Soviet Ukraine and then the entire Soviet Union with similar brio; or of Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of neighboring Belarus. But, in the context of a campaign, it was probably the best way for Zelenskiy to show he is holding true to his promise of renewal. To boost the message, Zelenskiy proposed that top officials and state company bosses from the Poroshenko presidency be “lustrated” –  banned from government jobs. Ukraine’s anticorruption agencies, meanwhile, have taken a sudden interest in businesses close to Poroshenko and his team;  officially, Zelenskiy has nothing to do with that.Negating Poroshenko’s showy militarism was the other pillar of Zelenskiy’s campaign. He canceled the Independence Day military parade in August, one of his predecessor’s favorite events, and ordered that its cost of $11.5 million be paid out as bonuses to troops. And he worked hard to engineer a big prisoner exchange with Russia, something Poroshenko was loath to do, insisting that the Kremlin unconditionally release dozens of Ukrainians held in Russia on various political charges.At the time of this writing, the exchange hadn't occurred, but significant steps had been taken to make it possible. Swallowing his pride, Zelenskiy called Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11 to discuss the issue. The two countries’ human rights commissioners, Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Denisova and Russsia’s Tatyana Moskalkova, met in Moscow to exchange lists of prisoners. The Ukrainian list included the 24 sailors taken prisoner by Russia last year when their vessels tried to break through to the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol past a de facto Russian blockade. (This request earned Zelenskiy some criticism, since an international maritime tribunal had ruled that Russia should free rather than exchange them. ) On Wednesday, however, a Russian court extended their detention another three months.Whether the prisoner exchange takes place in the coming days or not,  Zelenskiy has succeeded in showing Ukrainians that, though he has no intention of surrendering to Putin, he’s focused on negotiating rather than simply relying on Western support or nurturing vain hopes of an eventual military victory. That reinforces his earlier, popular promises to work toward ending the war with Russian-backed separatists.All this activity has kept Servant of the People’s support steadily above 40 percent in an overwhelming majority of polls. No other party has been polling more than 12 percent. Poroshenko’s European Solidarity Party has failed to get much traction, and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and rock singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Voice parties appear destined to play bit parts in the next parliament unless Zelenskiy needs their support to form a majority coalition. Even if that occurs, their rewards still won’t be huge, given their low support levels. Essentially, Zelenskiy has owned the campaign on the national level. The only likely surprises can come from first-past-the-post constituencies, which fill half the parliament. That system leaves the old elites a chance to hold on to some political influence, and Servant of the People’s candidates in some localities appear weak compared with the political veterans and business tycoons running against them.Nonetheless, Zelenskiy has a shot at near-dictatorial powers. So far, he’s given little indication of what he might do with them, and there’s no unity even among his closest advisers on how soft or how tough a stance Ukraine must take with Russia and its own Russian-speaking population. The world has only really seen Zelenskiy the politician in campaign mode. He’s been impressive – but he’s still a wild card as Zelenskiy the leader.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Looks Like a Winner. But Is He a Leader? Sun, 21 Jul 2019 02:00:02 -0400

    Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Looks Like a Winner. But Is He a Leader?(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, is set to win Sunday’s parliamentary election, gaining a near-majority that would hand the novice president more power than his predecessor enjoyed. What Zelenskiy is going to do with it is largely still a mystery.Ukraine’s constitution places the responsibility for forming the cabinet in the parliament’s hands. This means Zelenskiy, elected in April on promises of draining the political and bureaucratic swamp, has had his hands tied so far: The outgoing parliament, which he dismissed soon after taking office in May in order to hold an early election, has been hostile to him. (Because Servant of the People was registered only last year, it had no sitting members of the legislative body.) Zelenskiy, for example, got into a public row with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who failed to consult him as he continued former President Petro Poroshenko’s rigid, unproductive line in the matter of freeing 24 Ukrainian sailors held captive in Russia. The president has been unable to get the parliament to dismiss Klimkin.So Zelenskiy, a former comedian and TV producer, focused on running his party’s election campaign rather than trying to govern. His approach was two-pronged: Proving to voters that he’s going to be relentlessly demanding of Ukraine's bureaucracy and political class and showing that he’s willing and able to de-escalate the conflict with Russia.To the former end, he traveled around Ukraine and spoke harshly with various officials. In Boryspil, a small city just east of Kiev, he kicked a city council official out of a meeting, denouncing him as a “highwayman” and a “devil.” “Do you consider me an idiot?” he asked Oleksandr Vlasov, head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service during a meeting in Odessa before asking for his resignation. (Vlasov resigned, though Zelenskiy had no power to fire him). In the industrial city of Zaporizhzhya, he made the mayor promise to resign if an important bridge isn’t fixed by October 15.These fireworks have been somewhat reminiscent of Nikita Khrushchev, who once ran Soviet Ukraine and then the entire Soviet Union with similar brio; or of Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of neighboring Belarus. But, in the context of a campaign, it was probably the best way for Zelenskiy to show he is holding true to his promise of renewal. To boost the message, Zelenskiy proposed that top officials and state company bosses from the Poroshenko presidency be “lustrated” –  banned from government jobs. Ukraine’s anticorruption agencies, meanwhile, have taken a sudden interest in businesses close to Poroshenko and his team;  officially, Zelenskiy has nothing to do with that.Negating Poroshenko’s showy militarism was the other pillar of Zelenskiy’s campaign. He canceled the Independence Day military parade in August, one of his predecessor’s favorite events, and ordered that its cost of $11.5 million be paid out as bonuses to troops. And he worked hard to engineer a big prisoner exchange with Russia, something Poroshenko was loath to do, insisting that the Kremlin unconditionally release dozens of Ukrainians held in Russia on various political charges.At the time of this writing, the exchange hadn't occurred, but significant steps had been taken to make it possible. Swallowing his pride, Zelenskiy called Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11 to discuss the issue. The two countries’ human rights commissioners, Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Denisova and Russsia’s Tatyana Moskalkova, met in Moscow to exchange lists of prisoners. The Ukrainian list included the 24 sailors taken prisoner by Russia last year when their vessels tried to break through to the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol past a de facto Russian blockade. (This request earned Zelenskiy some criticism, since an international maritime tribunal had ruled that Russia should free rather than exchange them. ) On Wednesday, however, a Russian court extended their detention another three months.Whether the prisoner exchange takes place in the coming days or not,  Zelenskiy has succeeded in showing Ukrainians that, though he has no intention of surrendering to Putin, he’s focused on negotiating rather than simply relying on Western support or nurturing vain hopes of an eventual military victory. That reinforces his earlier, popular promises to work toward ending the war with Russian-backed separatists.All this activity has kept Servant of the People’s support steadily above 40 percent in an overwhelming majority of polls. No other party has been polling more than 12 percent. Poroshenko’s European Solidarity Party has failed to get much traction, and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and rock singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Voice parties appear destined to play bit parts in the next parliament unless Zelenskiy needs their support to form a majority coalition. Even if that occurs, their rewards still won’t be huge, given their low support levels. Essentially, Zelenskiy has owned the campaign on the national level. The only likely surprises can come from first-past-the-post constituencies, which fill half the parliament. That system leaves the old elites a chance to hold on to some political influence, and Servant of the People’s candidates in some localities appear weak compared with the political veterans and business tycoons running against them.Nonetheless, Zelenskiy has a shot at near-dictatorial powers. So far, he’s given little indication of what he might do with them, and there’s no unity even among his closest advisers on how soft or how tough a stance Ukraine must take with Russia and its own Russian-speaking population. The world has only really seen Zelenskiy the politician in campaign mode. He’s been impressive – but he’s still a wild card as Zelenskiy the leader.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • U.A.E Says Yemen Coalition 'Preparing for Next Phase' Sun, 21 Jul 2019 01:53:36 -0400

    U.A.E Says Yemen Coalition 'Preparing for Next Phase'(Bloomberg) -- The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen is preparing for the next phase in the war, a United Arab Emirates minister said.“The coalition is preparing for the next phase with its political and military tools and is determined to achieve its strategic objectives,” said U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Twitter. The alliance “repelled attempts to change the balance of power and restored the government and what now remains is restoring sustainable political stability,” he said. To contact the reporter on this story: Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • UK car sector accelerates towards electric future Sun, 21 Jul 2019 00:37:29 -0400

    UK car sector accelerates towards electric futureBritain's auto industry, seeking to swerve Brexit obstacles, is accelerating toward electrification as consumers shun high-polluting diesels, driven by rapid advances in technology and greener government policy. Four famous car brands born in Britain but now foreign-owned -- German-held Bentley and Mini, Indian-backed Jaguar Land Rover, and Chinese-controlled Lotus -- have each this month outlined plans for purely electric models to sit alongside their petrol vehicles. All-electric cars, which need to be charged from the mains, and hybrids, which combine electrics with petrol or gasoline engines, are gaining in popularity as more consumers turn away from the pollution-spewing internal combustion engine.


  • Lawyers Stranded in No-Deal Brexit Seek Loopholes to Keep Jobs Sun, 21 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400

    Lawyers Stranded in No-Deal Brexit Seek Loopholes to Keep Jobs(Bloomberg) -- U.K. lawyers with lucrative careers in European Union law are fighting to save their jobs after the bloc’s top courts warned that a no-deal Brexit would forbid them from representing clients.In an April letter, a senior official at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg urged British lawyers practicing EU law to put in place contingency plans to avoid being frozen out of cases at the institution’s two tribunals.Three months on, the prospect of the U.K. crashing out of the EU looms once again. Parliament is trying to prevent a no-deal exit, but there’s no guarantee they will be able to rein in the next prime minister. Boris Johnson, the favorite in the leadership race, has vowed to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 with or without a deal and his underdog rival is also prepared to walk away without an agreement.“A hard Brexit thanks to Boris Johnson means that those British lawyers without a workable and robust solution will lose their legal professional privilege and audience rights,” said Trevor Soames, a Brussels-based competition lawyer at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. “Those working from London without a credible Brussels presence will lose out as I doubt international, non-U.K., clients will go to London-based lawyers for Brussels-related work.”If there’s no deal, a certificate to practice law before a U.K. tribunal “would no longer fulfill the conditions,” the registrar at the EU General Court warned. Lawyers should “ensure that the necessary steps are taken” to be able to defend their clients and that “it is naturally with some regret that I draw this matter to your attention.”Attorneys registered in England and Wales based in London and Brussels, the EU’s unofficial capital, have found various workarounds. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, depending on residency rights, citizenship and, for some, the need to sit exams.Many have registered with the Brussels bar and taken on local citizenship to become full Belgian lawyers. More flocked to Ireland. Both routes have pitfalls.Matthew Levitt, an EU antitrust lawyer with Baker Botts in Brussels, qualified as an English barrister and a solicitor in London. Barristers normally plead in court while solicitors do traditional legal work in a firm and advise clients.“That was all fine until Brexit loomed,” he said. Plan B was to register as an Irish solicitor, joining more than 3,330 England and Wales solicitors who have taken this path since early 2016.He then got a letter in March from the Law Society of Ireland “saying here’s your 2019 practicing certificate, but you should be aware that it is conditional,” said Levitt. The condition was that lawyers needed a permanent establishment in Ireland. “Effectively what they were saying is that it was invalid.”“There was quite a lot of concern and outrage,” said Levitt. Due to the uncertainty he decided to become a member of the “Brussels A list,” a fully fledged Belgian lawyer.The Law Society of Ireland said that the status of those practicing outside the jurisdiction is “legally complex” and after queries from solicitors it’s developed detailed guidance. But Levitt says he now “feels fully secure,” partly because he also became a Belgian citizen.Soames went direct to the Brussels bar and also took Belgian citizenship. Last month, he pleaded for the first time as a Belgian lawyer before the EU courts in Air Canada’s appeal of antitrust fines.The Brussels profession has been “very open and welcoming” to foreigners “who have been practicing for a suitable period of time in Brussels, are residents in Brussels and have an office in Brussels,” said Soames.But, under a Belgian law dating back to 1970, lawyers can only keep their rights if they are also citizens of an EU nation. That’s a “slight problem, therefore, for U.K. lawyers,” said Soames, because they would lose this status after Brexit.This is “obviously a matter of enormous and understandable concern to those who have made their careers upon European law,” he said.Belgian professional bodies say they are looking for solutions. A Brexit law from this year grants an extension and allows attorneys to hold on to their rights in case the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal until December 2020.James Webber, who works on U.K. and EU competition law at Shearman & Sterling mainly in London, registered in Ireland but is optimistic of avoiding a no-deal Brexit trap.“It’s just going to be much, much messier than any of us have been used to up till now. But, that’s Brexit.”To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman, Emma Ross-ThomasFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • With a team 'he'll be fine': UK braces for maverick leader Sat, 20 Jul 2019 23:13:40 -0400

    With a team 'he'll be fine': UK braces for maverick leaderSupporters of Boris Johnson, who looks certain to become the next British prime minister, hail his optimistic vision for post-Brexit Britain, but insist he will have a team to take care of the details. "If he's got good people around him, he'll be fine," said 67-year-old backer Sue Busby, a grassroots member of the governing Conservative Party that looks set to propel Johnson to power this week. The former London mayor has wooed Conservatives with a promise to get Britain out of the European Union and if elected party leader, he will take over from Theresa May as prime minister on Wednesday.


  • Boris v Jeremy: Who are the rivals to be Britain's next PM? Sat, 20 Jul 2019 23:01:38 -0400

    Boris v Jeremy: Who are the rivals to be Britain's next PM?London (AFP) - As the race to become Britain's next prime minister draws to a close, here is a look at the two rival candidates, their campaigns and their main Brexit and domestic policies:


  • Panama to withdraw flag from tanker towed to Iran, cites violations Sat, 20 Jul 2019 21:17:16 -0400

    Panama to withdraw flag from tanker towed to Iran, cites violationsPanama's maritime authority said on Saturday it had begun the process of withdrawing the registration of an oil tanker called MT Riah, which was towed to Iran after it disappeared from ship tracking maps in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Panama began the flag withdrawal process on Friday after an investigation determined the tanker had "deliberately violated international regulations" by not reporting any unusual situation, the authority said in a statement. Iran has said it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call.


  • British Airways, Lufthansa suspend Cairo flights Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:48:20 -0400

    British Airways, Lufthansa suspend Cairo flightsBritish Airways and Lufthansa both said Saturday they were suspending flights to Cairo for unspecified reasons related to safety and security. The British carrier said it was canceling flights to the Egyptian capital for a week. Lufthansa said it was suspending its flights as a precaution, mentioning "safety" but not "security" as its concern.


  • UK considering options over seized ship: minister Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:13:40 -0400

    UK considering options over seized ship: ministerLondon was considering several options in response to Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker, junior defence minister Tobias Ellwood said Sunday. Britain has said its priority is to de-escalate tensions with Iran in the Gulf, and has called for the release of the Stena Impero oil tanker which was seized Friday in what Britain said was an illegal move in Omani waters. "We are going to be looking at a series of options," Ellwood told Sky News television.


  • Over 20,000 rally in Moscow as election anger boils over Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:13:04 -0400

    Over 20,000 rally in Moscow as election anger boils overMore than 22,000 people packed a Moscow square Saturday to demand free and fair local polls, incensed by the authorities' refusal to put popular opposition candidates on the ballot. Staging their largest protest in years, opposition leaders such as President Vladimir Putin's top opponent Alexei Navalny and ordinary Muscovites rallied after authorities refused to register independent candidates seeking to contest the September vote for the capital's parliament. "This is my city!" the crowd chanted during the two-hour-long sanctioned rally.


  • UPDATE 1-Britain says Iran approached tanker in Omani waters - letter to U.N. Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:11:55 -0400

    UPDATE 1-Britain says Iran approached tanker in Omani waters - letter to U.N."The ship was exercising the lawful right of transit passage in an international strait as provided for under international law," Britain's U.N. mission wrote to the Security Council. The letter, seen by Reuters, was also sent to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


  • Irish, EU governments sound out Johnson to avoid no-deal Brexit -Sunday Times Sat, 20 Jul 2019 18:04:06 -0400

    Irish, EU governments sound out Johnson to avoid no-deal Brexit -Sunday TimesAhead of Boris Johnson's likely election next week as Britain's prime minister, EU countries are secretly wooing him in a bid to thrash out a new Brexit plan that would avoid a no-deal disaster, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. German and French figures as well as the Dutch and Belgian governments have also established contact with Johnson's team and signalled an intention to do a deal, it added. In a limited extract released on Saturday evening ahead of publication, the paper reported that Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has indicated Dublin is prepared to compromise.


  • Iran's poking at West heightens risks of military missteps Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:40:32 -0400

    Iran's poking at West heightens risks of military misstepsRather than tangle with a stronger U.S. military, Iran is poking and prodding its Western antagonists in ways apparently designed to avoid triggering war but that nonetheless seem to heighten the risk of missteps and miscalculation that could lead to an armed conflict with global consequences. The tensions picked up Friday with Iran reporting it had seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf , one day after the U.S. said it destroyed an Iranian drone that had flown within threatening range of an American warship in the Strait of Hormuz. In June the Iranians shot down a U.S. Navy drone in the same area, prompting President Donald Trump to authorize a military strike on Iran, only to call it off at the last moment .


  • A War with Iran Would Wreck the American Energy Market Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:57:00 -0400

    A War with Iran Would Wreck the American Energy MarketReading Ilan Goldenberg recently described for Foreign Affairs what a war with Iran would look like. His analysis was informative, vivid and harrowing. But while his attention was focused primarily on the Middle Eastern theatre, I was wondering how such a skirmish would play out here in the United States.Specifically, how it would look for Americans at the gas pump.Goldenberg writes that even isolated, small-scale missile attacks or cyberattacks could drive oil prices to a now-unthinkable $150 a barrel, which is nearly $100 more than what West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are currently trading at.


  • Why Trump Won't Bomb Iran Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:57:00 -0400

    Why Trump Won't Bomb IranAfter President Donald Trump decided not to “bomb Iran” in retaliation for shooting down an unmanned Navy drone that was either very close to Iranian air space, many of his conservative critics accused him of acting more like President Barack Obama rather than President Ronald Reagan.According to critics like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), President Donald Trump’s decision to call off the air strikes, which he had apparently approved, was a replay of Obama’s refusal to bomb Syria after Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had crossed Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons against the rebels who were trying to get him to leave office.These same critics note that Reagan attacked Iran on April 18, 1988, two days after a mine planted by the Iranians wounded ten sailors and damaged an American destroyer, the USS Roberts, which was one of the ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti tankers through the Strait of Hormuz.Both of these historical analogies give a misleading impression of how Obama and Reagan actually handled these issues. In fact, Trump should take some lessons for dealing with the current crisis with Iran, which is largely of his own creation, by understanding how these two predecessors responded to similar situations.


  • Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:55:07 -0400

    Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outletsA day after Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets, the social networking service said Saturday it acted after harassment of people linked to the Baha'i faith. Amid soaring tensions in the region, heightened by Iran's seizure on Friday of a British-flagged tanker, some of the affected media outlets had speculated that the suspensions were related to their coverage of the seizure.


  • Iran Has Its Own 'Maximum Pressure' Campaign Against Trump Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:52:00 -0400

    Iran Has Its Own 'Maximum Pressure' Campaign Against TrumpFor one year, Tehran continued adhering to the JCPOA. However, the destabilizing effects of the new sanctions proved intolerable.By most accounts, the United States and Iran came within minutes of armed conflict with each other on June 20, 2019. Around 4:30 AM that morning, a U.S. Navy RQ-4N Global Hawk spy drone flying a routine circuit over international airspace in the Persian Gulf was shot down by an Iranian Ra’ad surface-to-air missile system.Later that day, U.S. forces were ostensibly “ten minutes” away from striking three Iranian bases likely with air- and sea-launched missiles when President Donald Trump changed his mind and canceled the attack. He later cited concerns that killing an estimated 150 Iranians over the loss of an unmanned drone was a disproportionate response.(This first appeared in June 2019.)


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