Well-sealed windows. No other country can make such well-sealed and nice windows.’ That was Angela Merkel’s answer when, more than a decade ago, a journalist asked her what she most associated with her native land.
Wenn am nächsten Sonntag Bundestagswahl wäre …
Mr. Scholz, a Social Democrat who is modeling himself as the candidate of continuity, has a fair shot at being Germany’s next chancellor.
Germans will file into polling stations to vote in an unpredictable federal election on Sunday — but for the first time in nearly two decades, their longtime leader won’t be in contention.
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz is the favorite to become Germany’s next chancellor, but he’ll need a messy three-party coalition to form a government, according to the polls.
The path to power for the SPD and its preferred partner the Green Party is complicated. It would probably involve either a more centrist alliance with the business-friendly Free Democrats, or a shift in the opposite direction in a tie-up with the anti-capitalist Left party.
Meeting at the Knesset, the two leaders said the meeting „went well.“
A number of parties that form the the ‚anti-Netanyahu‘ bloc, Yesh Atid, Yamina and Tikva Hadasha, have been discussing coalition plans with „positive energy“ in recent weeks.
– Boris Johnson and the Government today won a crunch vote on extending coronavirus powers to September
– But the PM suffered a considerable Tory rebellion as 35 of his MPs voted against and a further 20 abstained
– Emergency powers will now be kept in place to September despite lockdown being due to end on June 21
– Rebels questioned need for ’significant draconian powers‘ after life is supposed to be back to normal
A new Opinium survey puts Labour on 41 per cent and the Conservatives on 37 per cent, providing a significant boost to Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.
The poll suggests the Tories are suffering because some 22 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters now say they are undecided about who to vote for.
However, with Labour saying it will support the measures, the law enforcing them is likely to be approved.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is updating the Commons now, telling MPs – many of whom are participating remotely – that says the vaccine programme provides a „means of escape“ from the current lockdown, with 1.3 million people in UK already vaccinated.
The new tiers system for England came into force at midnight after the Commons approved it by 291 to 78 – but the healthy majority masked a disaster for Mr Johnson as a swathe of his own MPs abandoned him.
Scores of Tories joined the biggest uprising of this Parliament despite Mr Johnson personally waiting in the division lobbies and urging them to stick with the government, and he only secured victory because Sir Keir stopped short of opposing the measures.
Hundreds of people remained in the area well after midnight, ignoring calls by police to leave.
Anti-riot forces moved into the area and began clearing out people. As of early Sunday morning, most of the remaining protesters appeared to be leaving peacefully, but police were seen dragging some activists away.
A new Taoiseach was elected on Saturday and a range of new Ministers were appointed. Here’s all you need to know about them:
Israel’s drone deals with Germany began in 2009, when it first leased drones to the German army for use in Afghanistan. Seven years later there was a similar transaction, this time to operate the drones in Mali.
JASON HIRSCH, Public Policy Manager,
Jason Hirsch joined Facebook’s Public Policy team in October 2018, where he focuses on development of policies to help guide Facebook’s approach to content distribution and moderation. Within that role, Mr. Hirsch heads up Facebook’s Health Integrity Policy efforts, including leading the development of Facebook’s multi-faceted approach to combatting misinformation about vaccinations.
Examine the feasibility of developing a common vaccination card/passport for EU citizens (that takes into account potentially different national vaccination schedules and), that is compatible with electronic immunisation information systems and recognised for use across borders, without duplicating work at nati
In a decision that could have momentous implications for the Middle East, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected petitions from several Israeli advocacy groups that challenged the legality of the agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, to form a National Unity government.
The Knesset (Israel Parliament) also passed a raft of legislative changes to the country’s semi-constitutional Basic Laws, paving the way for a government to be established after more than a year of political deadlock.
The parties also decided that emergency orders instated to fight the coronavirus pandemic would not extend beyond six months.
The bill known as the „Norwegian law,“ which allows any Member of Knesset (Israel Parliament) appointed to a ministerial post to temporarily resign from the legislative chamber, will reportedly be dropped.
Every day that passes provides more proof of the twisted state of Israeli democracy, in which a defendant under criminal indictment leads the government and is a candidate to form the next one.
Thousands of workers, unemployed, self-employed and small business owners took part in demonstrations throughout the country Saturday night, May 2, against the economic and social policy of the far-right government, while demanding support in the wake of the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday night, rallies were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, Eilat, Kiryat Shmone and Kufr Qassim, with demonstrators condemning as woefully inadequate the government’s limited economic support by means of unemployment stipends and grants.
According to The Times of Israel, Chief Justice Esther Hayut signaled during the proceedings that the court will neither stand in the way of Netanyahu forming a government nor of the coalition deal moving forward.
The Israeli justice system has received eight complaints from good governance groups and lawmakers concerning the terms of the coalition agreement and the possibility of Netanyahu leading the government despite facing multiple indictments in a wide-ranging corruption investigation.
Expanded panel hears arguments Sunday on request that prime minister be disqualified over the criminal charges against him
The so-called „Black Flag“ protests were organized by the Movement for Quality Government under the slogan “Saving the court, saying no to corrupt government”. Protesters carried signs that read „We’re sick of corruption“ and „emergency government, corruption government“. At the mention of members of Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party the crowd booed and shouted, „Shame!“
‘We are moving towards a new normality.’ This is how Germany’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, put it at a coronavirus press conference last week, alongside Angela Merkel and various state premiers. The government was announcing its timetable to phase out the lockdown measures. Before it began, the conference had an almost religious feel, with those gathered seeming to wait for proclamation and guidance.
Two weeks ago, the council had already discussed the possibility of a popular revolt and how the government could prevent an uprising against the authorities. Among other things, it considered how the state “could forestall dangers that could lead to widespread social unrest” that might spark protests against the government and state institutions.
It turns out that soldiers and officers from one of Military Intelligence’s classified intelligence gathering units gathered data and analyzed it for the task force that the National Security Council appointed for this purpose.
Thousands of Israelis demonstrated Saturday to protest a deal struck earlier this week between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and parliament speaker Benny Gantz to form a unity government.
As part of the agreement, Netanyahu will be able to veto the appointments of the next attorney general and state prosecutor. His trial in three corruption cases is set to begin on May 24.
Owen Alterman reports from a ‚Black Flag‘ protest in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where Israelis are protesting against Benjamin Netanyahu.
The pattern is familiar and dangerous: Start with ostensibly minimal means for a limited time, then expand the means and duration until they become permanent. Now it’s the fight against the coronavirus, tomorrow it will be the fight against crime – and finally the fight against the government’s opponents. History is paved with examples of emergency measures becoming routine.
Rivlin agrees to give Gantz until Wednesday
Gantz Is set to give a statement to the press at 9:00 P.M. in which he was expected to give details regarding the talks. His statement was originally scheduled for 8:30 P.M. before Netanyahu announced he would also be speaking, at 8:20 P.M.
With Joe Biden possibly the U.S. president come January 20, many Likudniks think it’s now or never for a West Bank land grab
One of first jobs facing a Netanyahu-Gantz government will be to appoint a permanent state prosecutor. Netanyahu must not be allowed to control or have even the slightest influence over who gets this post, given the important role the state prosecutor will play both in managing Netanyahu’s trial and in potential future investigations.
A criminal defendant will stay prime minister. Netanyahu has been rewarded, not punished, for his misuse of power in recent days. The exclusion of the Arab minority continues. And more than a million Israelis who voted for Blue and White have received a brutal lesson in political cynicism.
In all of this, Gantz is now Netanyahu’s partner.
„The coronavirus pandemic appears to be accomplishing something that three elections couldn’t — it’s forcing Israel’s deeply divided leaders to put the health and safety of the nation ahead of their own political fortunes,“ Israeli-American political analyst and author Joel Rosenberg told CNBC over the weekend.
Israel Resilience party leader Benny Gantz will reportedly support a new law allowing incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve in the government despite multiple indictments against him, according to Hebrew media.
Current Israeli Parliament (Knesset) legislation bars elected officials from serving as government ministers while being charged with a crime.
The activists say they use the black flag, pinning them to the back of vehicles, to symbolize the danger a prime minister under indictment poses to Israeli democracy, according to The Times.
Netanyahu was indicted last year on three charges following a years-long corruption investigation, including breach of public trust, bribery, and fraud.
Peretz’s decision to join the government does not dramatically alter the political balance, as there are only three Labor lawmakers in the new Knesset, and one of them, Merav Michaeli, might decide to defect to Meretz, which sits further left on the political specturm, if Labor joins Netanyahu.
The letter was signed by Spain, France, Portugal, Slovenia, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, the Italian premier’s office at Palazzo Chigi said.
European Union leaders failed to agree on Thursday on the scale of support for their economies battered by the coronavirus, but gave themselves two more weeks to work out details in a dispute between the ailing south and the fiscally conservative north.
Highlighting how the pandemic is testing the bloc’s cohesion, Germany and the Netherlands blocked a call from Italy, Spain and France to issue joint debt to help finance a recovery.
Lapid, who heads Yesh Atid, told journalists at a press conference that „Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government.“
„What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight,“ he added.
Gantz was a source of hope to millions of Israelis yearning to put an end to Netanyahu’s rule, which is crushing democracy while tearing the population to shreds. On Thursday their hope was shattered, to the laughter of the opposing camp, the one that led the country into moral corruption and that has now added another soldier to its ranks and bought about the disintegration of the alternative.
Benny Gantz could have made history by forming a minority government with the support of the Palestinian parties. Instead he dismantled his own political camp and joined his rival.
Lapid lambasted Gantz’s actions as „a betrayal to voters and a theft of votes.“
Horovitz added that Gantz was “spitting in the face” of his voters with his latest decision.
The Meretz leader called on others in the left bloc to not support this move.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Blue and White Party that served as the alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2 election, broke up on Thursday after party head Benny Gantz decided to enter Netanyahu’s government.
On top of all that, this would be political idiocy of the highest order, because sooner or later, Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi will discover what their colleagues in Kahol Lavan’s cockpit, Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid, have already learned through bitter experience: That Netanyahu is exactly what people say of him – a liar, devoid of credibility and dangerous to Israel, just as Kahol Lavan’s leadership so ably explained in election after election. And then, when people once again seek an alternative, nobody in Kahol Lavan’s electorate will give it their vote.
Germany, for example, caused outrage in Austria and Switzerland by stopping shipments of face masks to its neighbors. Several states have export restrictions, usually hidden in impenetrable legalese, on medical equipment from goggles to gloves and ventilators. Italy, in particular, feels let down. When it first tried to invoke an EU mechanism to share medical supplies, no member state helped. Ironically, only China sent equipment.
Benny Gantz – the main rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – has been given the chance to form a new coalition government in Israel.
Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party won more seats than Mr Gantz’s Blue and White in the general election. But Mr Gantz was backed by a thin majority of lawmakers.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is one of the founding members of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and has committed a total of 90 million euro to its work. CEPI brings together a range of diverse stakeholders to develop much-needed vaccines for the prevention of future pandemics. Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, said:
“The Coronavirus is currently the source of concern for many people. The development of a vaccine is an extremely important element in the effort to combat this viral infection. It is encouraging to see that this process now has the support of the international CEPI alliance, which is also making use of German research and development expertise. I hope that good results can soon be achieved for which so many people are waiting at this time.”
While more than two dozen pharmaceutical firms are in a race to develop the first effective vaccine against the coronavirus, CureVac may have an edge thanks to an experimental technology that allows it to deliver the prophylactic in extremely small doses.
It appears to have caught Mr Trump’s eye when he met the company’s chief executive during a crisis summit
(March 15, 2020, 4:54 PM CET)
She declined to comment on any takeover possibilities but referred to Germany’s foreign trade law, under which Berlin can examine takeover bids from non-EU, so-called third countries „if national or European security interests are at stake“.
There was no comment immediately available from the U.S. embassy in Berlin when contacted by Reuters on Sunday over the report, and nobody was available to comment at CureVac. Welt am Sonntag said CureVac declined to comment.
“Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of (centrist Blue and White party) Benny Gantz,” President Reuven Rivlin’s office said in a statement.
German government sources told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.
Earlier, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reported that U.S. President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.
His subjects, thanks to the terrifying television broadcasts, have become a hysterical herd. They have gone into war mode. It’s as if this war fell out of the sky as a gift to Netanyahu. But it’s not just luck. It’s also brains. Netanyahu refused to resign and refused to give up. Campaign after campaign, he grasps at his seat like a drowning person grasps at driftwood floating in the middle of the sea. He grasps and grasps and refuses to let go, until the ship comes along to carry him to safe haven, the corona ship.
The party has rejected this option in the past on principle that Netanyahu should not serve as premier because of his indictment in corruption cases.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz have repeatedly spoken of winning a “Jewish majority” in the election, a deeply controversial notion that in spirit delegitimizes the votes of Arab citizens of Israel. However senior lawmakers from Blue & White met with their counterparts from the Joint List on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of the latter’s recommending Gantz as prime minister during consultations with President Reuven Rivlin tomorrow (Sunday, March 15). Gantz, the head of Blue & White, needs the support of the Joint List to show he has enough backing to form a government. Before the Corona crisis, Gantz had adamantly refused to join a government headed by Netanyahu as long as he is under indictment.
Next Tuesday, March 17, Netanyahu’s trial will commence in the Jerusalem District Court.
For the European Union and the new team at its executive arm, the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, this pandemic is a challenge to her intention to have a “geopolitical commission,’’ Ms. Stelzenmüller said — ‘‘if the member states let her.”
According to a statement from Netanyahu’s bureau on Friday morning, the premier stressed to Gantz during their nighttime meeting that „terror supporters“ cannot be part of said government, neither in normal circumstances nor in emergency.
The comment seems to be implicitly refering to members of the Arab-majority Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset, which Netanyahu heavily vilified during Israel’s numerous election campaigns over the last year.
Kahol Lavan leader says ‚emergency‘ government should ‚include all parts of the house‘ ■ Party officials believe that the health emergency would make it difficult for Gantz to gain legitimacy to promote political moves
„Unite now, fight later,“ Bennett said at a Tel Aviv press conference in which he proposed passing a bill to freeze the current political situation for six months.
Liberman suggested a government of only Likud and Blue and White to deal with the coronavirus on Thursday in an interview with the Russian-language Channel 9.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the ceasefire needs to be strengthened by adding a no-fly zone over the province to stop further bombings of hospitals.
“It would be wise to add a no-fly zone,” he told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with EU counterparts in Zagreb.
Mr. Stoltenberg briefed the Coalition on the decision in principle by Allied ministers to enhance NATO’s training mission in Iraq. As a first step, this will consist of NATO taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities in the country.
Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO’s work in Iraq is helping strengthen the Iraqi armed forces and institutions to ensure ISIS cannot return, and Iraq no longer requires support.
He briefed on the Allied decision to enhance #NATO’s training mission in #Iraq. #MSC2020.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2UUFLb5
Angela Merkel’s grand transition plan has derailed after her handpicked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, unexpectedly called it quits on Monday.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, better known as AKK, announced she would not stand as the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) candidate to be German chancellor in the next federal election. She is also stepping down as the party’s chairwoman, according to the CDU’s press office
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer plans to step down as leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, a spokesman for the party said in a statement on Monday. Kramp-Karrenbauer will also not seek to run as chancellor candidate for the CDU in the next election.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, speaking in an interview at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, said that Germany aims to keep its forces in Iraq, but can only do so at the behest of the government in Baghdad.
“We need to keep in mind that in Iraq, IS is not yet defeated,“ Kramp-Karrenbauer told Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland. “If the pressure is reduced, then the danger is great that it resumes its regime of terror.”
Let’s imagine the next scenario: A unity government has been set up in Israel along the lines of President Rivlin’s proposal – which specifies a rotation of the premiership between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Donald Trump lays the “deal of the century” on the table. Netanyahu would say this is no time to change a prime minister. This is a historic, one-time opportunity Israel is getting a de facto green light for annexation from the United States.
Germany is moving some of its military personnel from Iraq to neighbouring countries over security concerns, the government told lawmakers, days after the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US drone strike.
About 30 of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq who mainly train Iraqi security forces will be redeployed to Jordan and Kuwait, the government told parliament in a letter on Monday.
Jabareen added that if that is the case, Gantz and his faction will not be able to count on the support of the Joint List — an option seriously discussed following the September elections. “There was talk all along the way of our external support to enable the formation of a different kind of government, but this will not happen given the annexation intention and masquerading as Likud II,” Jabareen said.
He reminded us that the Joint List — the Knesset’s third-largest faction — wields significant power both in the domestic political arena and in the international one.
Officials in attorney general’s office reportedly say that if Netanyahu extends sovereignty over Jordan Valley, settler leaders and IDF officers could be probed
In his remarks made at a conference in Jerusalem, Gantz said that Netanyahu turned the annexation of the West Bank — a highly contentious issue — into a talking point, but did little for the people living there.
Blue and White, he said, would be just the opposite – the plans for annexing the Jordan Valley, set to be Israel’s ‚eastern wall‘, are ready, and standing at the helm the party will implement them.
The corruption involved in the purchase of submarines and ships from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp makes it among the worst such affairs in Israel’s history. It involves bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering by a criminal network that functioned at the highest levels of Israel’s government and business people between 2009 and 2019 , funnelling government funds from the defense budget into private pockets, by swaying decisions regarding purchases from the German shipbuilder.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Wednesday that Iran was developing „nuclear-capable ballistic missiles,“ which they say is in violation of a Securiy Council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal.
The letter cites footage released on social media April 22, 2019, ..
The agreement with ThyssenKrupp included provisions for what would happen if corruption were discovered on the German end; in that situation, the corporation would be able to cancel the existing deals. But it included no provisions on what would happen if corruption were discovered on the Israeli end.
Israel’s attorney general said Thursday he intends to charge the personal lawyer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with money-laundering in the state’s purchase of submarines from German firm Thyssenkrupp.
The justice ministry said that charges were also expected against a businessman who represented the firm in Israel and against a former head of the Israeli navy.
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman has told Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan that he would join a narrow right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the party doesn’t agree to let Netanyahu be first to serve as premier in a rotation agreement.
Lieberman’s staff said on Tuesday that he was approached by Knesset members who asked him to enter a right-wing government to prevent Israel from going to a third election this year.
Spanish agents in Syria are cooperating with Operation Gallant Phoenix, a U.S.-led effort to identify fighters from Western nations who have joined Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region, counter-terrorism sources told EL PAÍS.
“New Zealand began participating in Operation Gallant Phoenix in late 2014 in support of our efforts to uncover information relating to the location of a New Zealander taken hostage by ISIS,” Jacinda Ardern said.
SPD members chose a pair of government critics, 67-year-old Norbert Walter-Borjans and lawmaker Saskia Esken, 58, to lead their party instead of a pro-Merkel ticket led by her finance minister, Olaf Scholz. The result may signal the party’s willingness to pull out of Germany’s grand coalition after years of paying the political costs for keeping the chancellor in office.
The new designated leaders in her coalition’s junior partner have warned they would leave the coalition without a sharp swing to the left
According to the report, Edelstein planned to announce an agreed deal in a press conference on Wednesday, after receiving signatures supporting the move from Blue & White’s Benny Gantz, Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Liberman, and two-thirds of the Likud faction.
However, at the end of a five-day political maneuver, the Likud’s second on the Knesset list — preceded only by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — realized he does not have enough votes to push forth the idea,
Alluding to Netanyahu’s role in the right-wing campaign against former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the run-up to his assassination, he said: „Someone who spearheaded the harsh and painful campaign against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of blessed memory, which ended in a national disaster, should know that dangerous words are doomed to turn into deadly bullets.“ He added that „a true patriot“ would not „hold Israeli citizens hostage to his legal battle.“
Senior Likud member Gideon Sa’ar has called for a Likud leadership primary, criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu’s attack on Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and the claim that the decision to indict the prime minister on corruption charges is „an attempted coup.“
„Whoever heads the executive branch can’t say that Mendelblit’s decision is an attempt of a legal coup. That’s not right, it’s not responsible,“ Sa’ar, seen as Netanyahu’s main rival in the party, told Channel 12 News on Saturday.
Gantz said after meeting with Netanyahu in a statement on his twitter that „Israel needs a broad and liberal unity government, which will consist primarily of the two major white-led political parties that won the elections.“ According to him, it is „a government whose founding lines will be set on the basis of the major parties and therefore cannot be built on one or the other sectoral bloc.“
Moreover, the two main inciters, Netanyahu and Lieberman, are exploiting both the tense security situation and their polished racist rhetoric to put enormous pressure on Gantz to enter a unity government based on the president’s proposal. Gantz, who until now has demonstrated impressive steadfastness, must not cave into this pressure. Soon, the dense smoke of the rockets will dissipate, and Israel will once again be overshadowed instead by the picture of the serial criminal suspect Netanyahu, the man who is unfit to be prime minister.
Until now, it seemed the entire political system was fumbling all the way to another election, and that perhaps this was our new system of government – elections and yet more elections, devoid of either victory or significance. But on Tuesday, Israelis woke up to a historic moment. A “crisis government” led by Netanyahu, with the participation of Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan party, now seems like the most probable outcome.
Yair Lapid, the No. 2 on the Kahol Lavan roster, said at the party meeting that a government can’t be created in the space of 48 hours, and that all Netanyahu had to agree to was to be second in the rotation – i.e., to agree that Gantz serve as prime minister first, then Netanyahu. But what Netanyahu wants is a third election, Lapid said.
“That’s what his lawyers suggested to him, that’s what he needs because of the indictments,” Lapid said.
According to reports in the Hebrew media, Gantz could offer Netanyahu a “compromise deal” that would force him to choose between including his religious allies in the coalition, and being prime minister first in any rotation deal.
STUTTGART, Germany — When the new U.S. and German defense chiefs held high-level talks in Washington this week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper wasted no time getting to his main point — the dollars and cents of defense spending.
While Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war and escalation, Iran would be held accountable for the drone and missile strikes, Adel al-Jubeir told the BBC.
A US assessment claiming Iran was behind the attacks was backed up by the UK, France and Germany this week.
NEW YORK — The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday blamed Iran for an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and we reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Yes, this initiative of yours, Mr. President, is very grave indeed! You are dividing the country on an ethnic basis, you are placing one people above another, one public above another, one group above another, when your job is to say loud and clear: They are all my sons. And for this you do not have a mandate. You do not have a mandate to divide the country between Jews and Arabs. You do not have a mandate to exclude a fifth of the population.
“The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,” the three countries added
Less than a week after his impressive electoral achievement, the head of the largest Knesset faction, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, conceded his right to be the first to try and form a coalition government. The explanation given by “party sources” for this concession is that Gantz prefers to wait for Netanyahu to try first and fail.
Regrettably, this lame excuse is unconvincing. This move looks like a capitulation without a fight, an admission that the right wing’s long-standing tactic of delegitimizing parties representing Arab society succeeded.
Netanyahu getting a first nod from the president would land a harsh blow on the center-left’s morale, which could facilitate Netanyahu’s plan to divide the party from within. The nightmarish vision of Netanyahu settling back in the driver’s seat and recklessly pushing the gas pedal to reach his target would make a mockery of his clear-cut defeat in last Tuesday’s election. While Gantz and his colleagues rejoice over sucker Netanyahu supposedly falling into their well-laid trap, their supporters will see them as naive novices who could soon add insult to injury by reneging on their main pledge not to participate in his coalition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz (R) as President Reuven Rivlin looks on, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, on September 23, 2019.
“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the leaders of the three European powers said. “There is no other explanation.”
Gantz responded to Netanyahu’s request by saying he would only lead a „liberal“ coalition, a statement which excluded the ultra-Orthodox political bloc on whom Netanyahu has relied throughout his tenure.
Moshe Yaalon, another Blue and White leader, added that the party would not enter into a coalition led by Netanyahu because of the corruption charges against him.
Netanyahu’s recent announcements, like a pledge to annex parts of the West Bank he made three days before the April 9th elections, have barely registered in the campaign of Blue and White, the centrist party co-led by Generals Benny Gantz, Moshe „Bogie“ Ya’alon, and Gabi Ashkenazi (all former chiefs of the Israeli Defense Forces) along with former finance minister Yair Lapid
The key political difference between east and west Germany is that the disintegration of the mainstream political parties is far more advanced in the east. This is one of the main reasons the AfD performs best in the east. Unlike in the west, the traditional parties have never had a stable electoral base in the east. Election successes have been largely down to the popularity of individual leaders. In the west, the traditional parties are still able to rely on some form of voter loyalty. But these loyalties have been breaking down quickly in the west too, as the broader decline of the SPD illustrates.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the incident with Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.
Ursula von der Leyen has been confirmed as the next president of the EU Commission, winning a vote in the European Parliament by 383 to 327.
But despite the involvement of MEPs, the process that put von der Leyen in place was nothing short of a coronation.
The report claims that local groups such as the Middle East Peace Forum and WerteInitiative (Values Initiative) worked together with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs in order to promote the resolution, an enterprise that included “donations to politicians.” The groups deny these charges, but the story has evoked a stormy public debate. Bild, the most widely-read newspaper in Germany, sharply criticized the report, calling it anti-Semitic.
„We want ground troops from Germany to partly replace our soldiers,“ Mr Jeffrey told dpa and the German weekly Welt am Sonntag. He said he expects an answer before the end of the month.
„My aim is the United States of Europe — modelled on federal states like Switzerland, Germany or the U.S.,“ she told Der Spiegel in 2011. She repeated her call for a federal EU in an interview with Die Zeit in 2016, adding: „I imagine the Europe of my children or grandchildren not as a loose union of states trapped by national interests.“
As defense minister, she pushed for greater security cooperation in the EU, urging a „defense union“ and calling for the establishment of an „army of Europeans.“
Netanyahu and Blue and White party co-chairman Benny Gantz are reportedly not personally involved in any negotiations over a unity government.
Blue and White issued a statement reacting to the report, saying, “There is only one option for cancelling the elections: Netanyahu steps down to deal with his legal issues and Blue and White will lead a wide government.”
Yair Lapid, the co-chair of opposition party Kahol Lavan, said on Sunday that he believes a unity government headed by his outfit is the „right thing for Israel.“
Lapid said he would agree to form a coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to comments made by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday.
According to an EU Council document, the EU police agency Europol intends to process fingerprints and DNA traces in The Hague that are processed by the US military in war zones. This data is being exchanged in the context of Operation Gallant Phoenix, which is an intelligence project spearheaded by the US military that according to media reports, is based in Jordan. US intelligence services are also involved in this undertaking. Operation Gallant Phoenix is being coordinated by the United States Joint Special Operations Command, which commands the special units of all branches of the US military.
Alongside Operation Gallant Phoenix, the US Government has offered to set up a database on “foreign fighters” for a number of EU member states and to compare this information with the biometric data of incoming refugees.
– Boris Johnson abandons ambitions of becoming PM after Michael Gove drops him and launches own campaign
– Justice Secretary says Johnson was not up to job and questions if his ‚heart and soul‘ were in pushing through Brexit
– Boris aide said to have vented anger at Gove in expletive-laden text accusing him of plotting to win keys to No10
– Furious Conservative MP Jake Berry says on Twitter that there is a ‚very deep pit reserved in Hell‘ for Gove
– Alliance between Leave campaigners ripped up as Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom enters Tory contest
– Home Secretary Theresa May installed as favourite after delivering bravura performance at her launch
On Fox News last night, Mr Farage vowed: ‚If we do not leave the European Union on October 31, I will lead the Brexit Party after that into the next general election and we will sweep away parties that have dominated British politics for over 100 years.‘
If the Tories thought they were having trouble getting rid of Theresa May, they should spare a thought for the German CDU where Angela Merkel has just announced that she won’t be resigning as German Chancellor after all.
Merkel has decided that Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who took over as leader of the Christian Democratic Union in December, is not up to the country’s top job, according to two officials with knowledge of her thinking. As a result, the chancellor has become more determined than ever to stay in power until her term ends in 2021, the officials said.
Until Wednesday night, Mr Johnson had appeared the firm favourite to take over from David Cameron as Tory leader, and therefore prime minister. But shortly after 9am on Thursday, he learnt that he was the victim of the most spectacular political assassination in a generation.
Michael Gove’s sensational entry to the Tory leadership race has electrified a contest that had hitherto been proceeding predictably enough towards a final round between Theresa May and Boris Johnson. The justice secretary’s statement tore up the script and, extraordinarily, persuaded the former London mayor not to run.
– Theresa May’s plan to bring forward new Brexit Bill is in tatters after repeated attempts to woo Labour MPs
– Her chances of getting the deal through are fading as Tories voice opposition with 65-plus set to rebel
– Michael Gove has refused to guarantee that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would come to the Commons
– Tory 1922 committee is meeting at 4pm – after PM faces Commons – with members pledging to topple her
Theresa May’s premiership is on the brink amid a full-scale revolt over her new Brexit deal, with Tory MPs calling for a change in the party rules to facilitate a leadership challenge.
As Mrs May faces her final battle:
– Tory grandees threaten to change party rules so the leader can be removed immediately
– Fed-up backbenchers said she should go now and leave Brexit to her successor
– The PM’s DUP allies warned she is leaving Britain at the mercy of the EU
– Even Mrs May’s most loyal MPs said she should scrap the planned vote on her deal
Environment Secretary Michael Gove gave an apparent hint that a big Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, due in the week of June 3, should be pulled.
Sources said several Cabinet ministers agreed with him that the vital Bill should be kept back for a new Tory leader to manage.
A long-standing – but not usually a very public – critic likened me to a spectator at the guillotine as I stalked the commons corridors.
I asked him when he felt the political blade would fall on Theresa May’s premiership.
With a smile, he said: „Soon – very soon.“
I fear we are in for a long, hot summer.
Senior Tory backbenchers will now try to force a confidence vote in the PM when the party’s grandees meet at 4pm on Wednesday.
Brexiteer Nigel Evans said: “She has U-turned on absolutely everything. We cannot put up with this any longer.
Theresa May has committed to ‘ten commandments’ as part of the new offer she is putting before Parliament in one final attempt to pass her Withdrawal Agreement. They include a vote on a second referendum. Read them here:
Mrs May will meet Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, to set out a timetable for her departure after the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning June 3, he said today.
The pair will explore updating the trade blueprint to add a temporary Customs Union, which could be made permanent if Labour wins power in May 2022.
EU officials have given a warm welcome to the plan – so long as the UK signs off on the withdrawal pact including the backstop.
One told The Sun: “This should be workable. The EU never has made any problem about having time limits on a Customs Union.”
After a marathon Cabinet meeting, ministers agreed to continue the cross-party efforts but ..
– Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer warned Labour MPs would reject deal
– This is unless another referendum is part of the agreement with the Government
– Meanwhile, Tom Watson will use a speech today to push for second referendum
Setting a definite date could see the Prime Minister’s Brexiteer critics hold out for her departure, rather than backing her deal for the UK to leave the EU.
But chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May sets a leaving date when she meets with his executive team next Thursday, the Sun reported.
The few Tory MPs who claim to understand how she thinks believe that it has at last percolated through to her that, were she to walk out after the catastrophic local election results, she would merely compound the view of herself as one of the worst prime ministers in history. They think she feels that if she can get a deal to leave the European Union, however bad it might be and by whatever means, she might yet slough off some of her iniquity.
Where I live, in West Yorkshire, everywhere I go – to work, to the shops, to the pub, speaking with neighbours and friends – people have never been more openly political and unafraid to air their opinions. Talk is of democracy and its denial by Westminster; of traitors and authoritarians. The kind of language that would once only be used by marginal, radical groups has become the new normal. Even the local papers, not known for their political coverage, echo the public’s disgust at the denial of the referendum vote.
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Jeremy Corbyn launching Labour’s Euro elections campaign
– Sir Graham Brady suggested she could introduce the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – in the ’near future‘
– But some Tories believe the decision will see her caught in a trap if it fails to pass
– Tories fear a hammering at European elections at hands of the new Brexit Party
– Some officials believe they will get less than 10 per cent of the vote on May 23
George Osborne tells Sky News he thinks the time has come for a new leader and new mandate in the Conservative Party.George Osborne tells Sky News he thinks the time has come for a new leader and new mandate in the Conservative Party.
Sir Graham Brady has told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that there is not yet „public clarity“ on when the prime minister will leave office.
Theresa May has faced a direct call from a Conservative MP in the House of Commons to step down and hand over to a new Prime Minister.
Brexit-backing Andrea Jenkyns told Mrs May that she had “failed” in EU withdrawal negotiations and forfeited the trust of the public.
July is no good, there won’t be a Conservative Party that is resueable by then, the 1922 Committee are, in Thatchers words FRIT. Mrs May has to go NOW, tomorrow would not be soon enough!
The Labour MP accused the Conservative Party rules of forcing a form of „dictatorship“ on Parliament as nothing can be done to oust the Prime Minister before the end of the year. Ms Hoey urged Theresa May to resign from her post as soon as possible in the best interest of the country and to help find a solution to the Brexit impasse.
Theresa May is to meet the chairman of an influential committee of backbench Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady, amid calls for her to set a firm resignation date.
It follows a request from the 1922 Committee for „clarity“ on the issue.
Some even urged Sir Graham to quote the iconic line from the final episode of Line of Duty, where DI Kate Fleming AC-3 officer DI Michelle Brandyce to “stop making a t*t of yourself and p**s off”.
The PM’s response to Sir Graham will be vital and he will then report back to the 1922 committee tomorrow.
John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, said it “may well” be the case that any deal would have to be put to a second referendum, adding: “I think the Conservatives have to recognise that if a deal is going to go through there might be a large number of MPs who will want a public vote.“
The Leave campaigner said his burgeoning Brexit Party would field a full slate of candidates against Tory and Labour MPs in a general election and “break the two party system” if Mrs May and Mr Corbyn made a pact to keep the UK tied to EU rules.
“I am so sorry at the loss of many excellent Tory councillors,” he told the Observer. “But frankly, given the performance of the government, it’s pretty amazing that anyone turned out to vote Conservative at all.”
A grassroots movement to force out the prime minister is gaining ground in the wake of a set of election results that saw the Tories lose an astonishing 1,300 councillors. MPs and local constituency chiefs also warned May that agreeing a Brexit deal with Labour would lead to the party’s annihilation.
Tory MP Mark Francois told LBC that Theresa May must go after disastrous local elections results and the prospect of a customs union with the EU.
She today wrote in the Mail on Sunday: ‘To the leader of the opposition, I say this: let’s listen to what the voters said in the elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal.’
By Friday evening, with seven councils still to declare, 1,009 candidates who stood as an independent or for minor parties had been elected, 236 more than before polling day.
Many of these ‚other‘ candidates represent so-called “hyperlocal” parties, which operate in only one council or ward.
Theresa May is considering agreeing a cross-party deal with Labour to keep Britain in the tariff-free wall, which would bar Britain from striking new trade deals with other countries on goods but would allow agreements solely on services.
Middle England’s seismic revolt against the Conservatives has officially begun. After losing over 1,200 seats in local elections, the party will likely be obliterated in European elections later this month.
Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, is expected to meet Ms May on Tuesday to again urge her to set a date for her departure.
If she refuses, they will consider rewriting the rules to allow a fresh vote of no confidence this summer – a move the 1922 stepped back from last month.
Only a fool believes the political landscape will never change. As the Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan once told his aides: ‘There are times, perhaps once every 30 years, when there is a sea-change in politics. It then does not matter what you say or what you do. There is a shift in what the public wants and what it approves of.’
As it happens, Callaghan said those words almost exactly four decades ago, as he was preparing to lose the 1979 election to Margaret Thatcher.
The Conservatives have lost 1,334 councillors, with Theresa May saying voters wanted the main parties to „get on“ with Brexit.
Labour also lost 82 seats in the English local elections, in which it had been expected to make gains.
– Votes took place in 248 English councils and 11 Northern Ireland authorities amid a backdrop of Brexit anger
– Tories lose 409 seats and Labour 60 with results in from 109 of 248 councils in humbling backlash for both
– However Lib Dems gain 283 seats amid predictions they could get up to 500 in their best showing for years
– Labour and Tories suffer biggest losses in North and South East heartlands after internal rows over Brexit
– Voters shared pictures of spoilt ballot papers, writing ‚Brexit means Brexit‘ and ‚Get May Out‘ as a protest
Thursday’s elections precede European Parliament polls later this month, when both the Brexit Party and Change UK – who did not stand candidates in the local ballots – will also look to exploit voters‘ dissatisfaction with bigger parties.
Some had made their anger explicit on Thursday by scrawling protest messages such as „Brexit“ and „traitors“ on their ballot papers.
The Tories have lost more than 350 seats and a dozen councils across England overnight as fuming Brits abandoned them – and Labour have dropped three major councils too.
But the need to fight European elections – taking place on 23 May – has led 34 of the party’s candidates to say that this ambiguity is no longer sustainable.
Around 100 MPs from across the party agree with them.
They want a clear commitment to a referendum under all circumstances.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled that provisions for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS, rebranded as ICS – Investment Court System) in the EU-Canada trade deal CETA are compatible with EU law.
This decision dangerously legitimises a mechanism that enables companies to claim multi-billion sum damages from governments that dare to stand up to their power. The ruling also comes as a blow to millions of citizens who have spoken out against this parallel justice system for corporations, most recently, more than 555,000 petitioners from all over Europe demanded an end to the ISDS system in all its forms.
The European Union-Canada free-trade agreement’s provisions to protect investors do not breach EU law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Tuesday in a major relief for proponents of the deal that came into force in 2017.
Live Brexit news:
Hopes of a Brexit deal being struck between Labour and the Government have risen after both sides said progress had been made in the latest round of talks.
TORIES are on course for a disastrous EU election in four weeks as cross-party Brexit talks are going nowhere.
Hopes that the PM could hold another Brexit vote in the coming weeks and pass it are fading fast – meaning Britain is on track to fight the EU poll next month.
Mr Brady met privately with the PM before the committee talks, which began yesterday.
Some 1922 Committee members want to change rules to allow second no-confidence vote