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SPAIN POLITICS: Spain Seizes Catalonia Finances to Block Independence Referendum

SPAIN POLITICS: Spain Seizes Catalonia Finances to Block Independence Referendum

Catalonia and other Spanish regions pay taxes to Madrid and are given a quota to spend on essential services. The region, which is home to around 7.5 million people, receives about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) a month from the central government.

The takeover of finances “means that from now on (Catalan leaders) no longer have their money,” said a spokeswoman for Spain’s Budget Ministry, adding that they would not have the right to allot any “extra expense” beyond those already foreseen

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GERMANY POLITICS: Merkel on Track to Win Fourth Term

GERMANY POLITICS: Merkel on Track to Win Fourth Term

With Merkel’s conservatives commanding a solid poll lead, attention in Germany is turning to who she will govern with after the election, rather than whether she will stay in power.

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UK POLITICS: 10,000 Jobs to Leave UK if Britain is Denied Access to Europe’s Single Market

UK POLITICS: 10,000 Jobs to Leave UK if Britain is Denied Access to Europe’s Single Market

Nearly half of the companies surveyed told Reuters they would have to move staff or restructure their businesses because of Brexit, which is due to take place in March 2019. Another third said it would have no impact, and the remainder said they were still deciding on their plans or declined to comment.

The number of jobs to be moved or created overseas was based on answers from 39 companies employing at least 350,000 people. About 1.1 million people work in Britain’s financial sector.

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UK POLITICS: UK Signs Arms Deal With Qatar After US Jet Sales

UK POLITICS: UK Signs Arms Deal With Qatar After US Jet Sales

“This will be the first major defense contract with Qatar, one of the UK’s strategic partners,” Fallon said in Doha, where he met with the Qatari defense minister. “This is an important moment in our defense relationship and the basis for even closer defense cooperation between our two countries,” he added.

The deal has been clinched after a lengthy negotiating period. Fallon said the deal had been “on the table” back in March 2016.

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EUROPE POLITICS: EU Plan to Raise Taxes for Global Internet Firms Hits Snag

EUROPE POLITICS: EU Plan to Raise Taxes for Global Internet Firms Hits Snag

Estonia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, proposed a more structural solution that would permit states to tax companies where they have a digital, not just physical, presence.

The two plans could be complementary and be part of a two-step approach, the Estonian undersecretary for tax, Dmitri Jegorov, said.

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UK POLITICS: Boris Johnson Reignites Leadership Speculation with Brexit Plans

UK POLITICS: Boris Johnson Reignites Leadership Speculation with Brexit Plans

”My friends, I must report that there are at least some people who are woefully underestimating this country,“ Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph. ”They think Brexit isn’t going to happen.

”I am here to tell you that this country will succeed in our new national enterprise, and will succeed mightily.

“We have a glorious future.”

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UK POLITICS: London Parsons Green Blast ‘Similar to Boston Marathon Bomb’

UK POLITICS: London Parsons Green Blast ‘Similar to Boston Marathon Bomb’

Major General Chip Chapman told Sky News: “It’s no accident this was both in a confined place and a crowded place.

“It seems to be this bomb either malfunctioned or it’s not TATP, the explosives used by groups like ISIS [Islamic State]. It’s more like the Boston bomb. It’s almost like a pressure cooker device.”

Major Chris Hunter, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than 18 years, told LBC he was at the COBRA meetings on 7/7 and 21/7. He said the devices then were very similar to the one on the underground on Friday.

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UK POLITICS: You Will Regret Leaving EU: EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to UK

UK POLITICS: You Will Regret Leaving EU: EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to UK

“On March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. It will be a moment both sad and tragic. We will always regret it and you will regret it soon,” Juncker said Wednesday in his annual state of the union address before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

“Nonetheless we have to respect the will of the British people, but we will have to make progress, we will move on, because Brexit isn’t everything – it’s not the future of Europe,” he added.

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EUROPE POLITICS: Seize Brexit Chance to Forge Tighter EU Union: Juncker

EUROPE POLITICS: Seize Brexit Chance to Forge Tighter EU Union: Juncker

“The wind is back in Europe’s sails,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament, citing faster economic growth and the easing of a succession of crises — Greek debts, refugee crowds, Britain’s exit — that seemed to threaten the EU’s survival.

“Now we have a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open for ever,” he said, emphasizing a need to move on from and even profit from the British vote to leave the bloc come 2019.

“We will keep moving on because Brexit isn’t everything, it is not the future of Europe,” he said in a speech that Brexit supporters said showed they were right to take Britain out of a bloc set on creating more powerful, central institutions.

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UK POLITICS: Britain’s Government Says it Would Raise Police and Prison Guard Wages

UK POLITICS: Britain’s Government Says it Would Raise Police and Prison Guard Wages

A police staff representative said officers would be angry that the pay award was less than the permanent 2 percent increase recommended by an official pay review body. A senior officer who speaks for police chiefs, Francis Habgood, said forces had no money for pay rises.

“Without better real-terms funding protection from government, an award above 1 percent will inevitably impact on our ability to deliver policing services and maintain staffing levels,” Habgood said.

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UK POLITICS: Theresa May Phones Trump as Boeing Dispute Threatens Bombardier

UK POLITICS: Theresa May Phones Trump as Boeing Dispute Threatens Bombardier

Prime Minister Theresa May has phoned US President Donald Trump over a threat to jobs at Bombardier in Belfast from a trade dispute. In 2016, Canadian firm Bombardier won an order to supply up to 125 CSeries passenger jets to

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UK POLITICS: £1b Needed By Theresa May from Parliament to Save DUP Deal

UK POLITICS: £1b Needed By Theresa May from Parliament to Save DUP Deal

“No timetable has been set for the making of such payments,” said Jonathan Jones, the Treasury Solicitor, who also heads the Government Legal Department.

The official said Theresa May’s government was going to use “long-established procedures, under which central government requests the grant of money by the House of Commons” in order to pay the promised parts to the DUP.

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UK POLITICS: Wales, Scotland to Pose Challenge to Theresa May’s Brexit Plans: Report

UK POLITICS: Wales, Scotland to Pose Challenge to Theresa May’s Brexit Plans: Report

May’s bill will make it possible for Whitehall to “hijack” powers during Brexit process that should be passed to Cardiff, according to Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

“The UK Government is being rigid in its approach. It’s saying there is only one way. It’s acting as if it won a majority at the election in June. It didn’t,” Jones told The Independent.

“We will not consent to the bill as it is, and if they plough on that will spark a difficult constitutional problem. The House of Lords will also take a dim view of the UK Government ignoring the wish of democratically elected assemblies.”

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FRANCE POLITICS: Marine Le Pen Seeks to Bill Herself as Emmanuel Macron Main Opponent

FRANCE POLITICS: Marine Le Pen Seeks to Bill Herself as Emmanuel Macron Main Opponent

Lashing out at Macron over his labor reform, immigration and security policies and what she said was the government’s inadequate response to Hurricane Irma, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said in her first public speech in months:

“Don’t be mistaken, Mr Macron’s dismantling efforts target not only the essence of our institutions but also society as a whole and each and every one of us, including on labor rules.”

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UK POLITICS: Nigel Farage to Attend Far-Right Party AFD Campaign in Germany

UK POLITICS: Nigel Farage to Attend Far-Right Party AFD Campaign in Germany

While the majority of AFD supporters welcomed the news of Farage’s attendance, calling him a “straight-down-the-line” and “fiery” speaker,” others expressed concern the event might have an undesired outcome.

“Mr Farage was also the guy who bowed out after the referendum and left others to go through with Brexit,” said one user. “I will definitely vote for the AfD, because it’s the only alternative to our ‘government.’ But is Nigel Farage really that helpful for our campaign given that the coverage is already so negative?”

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UK POLITICS: Britain Rejects Irish Call for Role in Northern Ireland Rule

UK POLITICS: Britain Rejects Irish Call for Role in Northern Ireland Rule

DUP lawmaker Jeffrey Donaldson, whose party Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government depends on to survive, warned that his party would not accept any concessions to Dublin.

“Even if we have a temporary period of direct rule, the Irish Government must be clear that it must not interfere with the internal affairs of Northern Ireland and to do so would be a fundamental breach of faith,” Donaldson told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper in comments published on Wednesday.

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GERMANY POLITICS: Not Again! German Media Bemoan Grand Coalition Scenario After Limp TV Duel

GERMANY POLITICS: Not Again! German Media Bemoan Grand Coalition Scenario After Limp TV Duel

Newspaper Handelsblatt said Schulz had not really attacked the incumbent chancellor, adding: “Martin Schulz doesn’t want to be chancellor in September apparently but rather Angela Merkel’s office manager.”

But Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper said Schulz had scored points for taking more decisive positions on Turkey, pensions and the need to punish the German automotive industry for the diesel emissions scandal.

“When it came to showing hard edges, Martin Schulz was more convincing,” it said, adding, “this evening may have changed things.”

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GERMANY POLITICS: Merkel’s Rivals Narrow Gap Slightly Ahead of TV Debate

GERMANY POLITICS: Merkel’s Rivals Narrow Gap Slightly Ahead of TV Debate

Schulz has said he is going into Sunday’s television debate convinced he will win the elections. “A successful duel can create momentum,” he said in an interview conducted after media reports suggested his predecessor as leader had given up hope of an SPD victory.

Merkel told the Rheinische Post newspaper she expected the debate to spark great public interest. “I’ll be happy if as many people as possible take the time to watch,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

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UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

A snag though is that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is bound by his 27 national masters not even to discuss any post-Brexit arrangements until “significant progress” is made on agreeing a divorce.

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UK POLITICS: Theresa May Will Not Lead Us Into Next Election: Senior Tories Say

UK POLITICS: Theresa May Will Not Lead Us Into Next Election: Senior Tories Say

Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said it would be “difficult” for Mrs May to stay on until 2022, when the next election is due. Lord Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, said Mrs May had no long-term future. Privately, two executive members of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers said “a better campaigner” would be required to fight the next election.

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