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Qatar now so hot it has started air-conditioning the outdoors

18.10.2019 3:20

Giant coolers in public areas accelerating climate crisis further by using electricity from fossil fuels

Tags: ISIS, Fuel

Trump hails Syria cease-fire after playing role in crisis

18.10.2019 0:03

President Donald Trump framed the U.S.-brokered cease-fire deal with Turkey as "a great day for civilization" but its effect was largely to mitigate a foreign policy crisis widely seen to be of his own making. After hours of negotiation in Ankara, the two nations on Thursday agreed to a five-day cease-fire in the Turks' deadly attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. The Kurds were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State but came under assault after Trump ordered U.S. troops to leave the area earlier this month.


Johnson Sells Brexit Deal to Parliament Before Knife-Edge Vote

18.10.2019 0:00

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson is battling to sell his new Brexit deal to skeptical members of the U.K. Parliament ahead of a crucial vote on Saturday.The U.K. prime minister has no majority in the House of Commons but he needs to convince his own Conservatives, as well as opposition politicians to back the divorce accord he struck with the EU on Thursday. If he fails, the country will be on course to leave the bloc without a deal on Oct. 31, or to delay exit day for a third time.“This is our chance in the U.K. as democrats to get Brexit done,” Johnson told a press conference in Brussels on Thursday. “People want to move this thing on, it’s been going on for a long time.”He wouldn’t be drawn on what he would he do if he loses the vote.Defeat could unleash a political crisis unparalleled in modern times: despite EU leaders leaving open the possibility they could allow Britain more time to leave, Johnson has steadfastly refused to delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31. With any attempt to leave without a deal likely to face legal challenge, he may have to allow his plans to be put to voters in a general election, or even a second referendum.If he is to win Saturday’s vote, Johnson needs to secure the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which has categorically opposed the agreement he reached with the European Union on Wednesday. He is also seeking to woo reluctant members of his own side, and persuade opposition Labour politicians to back him, if he is to prevail.The parliamentary arithmetic is very tight, all the more so since the DUP said it is unable to support the accord. The loyalist party is opposed to Northern Ireland being treated any differently to the rest of the U.K.Under Johnson’s plans, the region would still be subject to some of the EU’s single market rules to mitigate the need for customs checks on the border with Ireland. That would, in effect, put a customs border in the Irish Sea.Will U.K. Parliament Back Boris Johnson’s Brexit? We Do the MathJohnson needs to pick up roughly 61 votes from a pool of about 75 Members of Parliament who might be persuaded to join him -- that will involve persuading hold-outs in his own party to come over to his side regardless of what the 10 DUP lawmakers decide.There are signs that some Tories who voted down his predecessor Theresa May’s deal -- among them Steve Baker, leader of the self-described “Spartan” group of hard-core Brexiters -- are falling into line.Johnson, too, is trying to win the support of a significant minority of MPs from the opposition Labour Party who believe the 2016 referendum result must be honored. To woo them, he is preparing to a package of measures, including protections for workers’ rights and environmental standards after Brexit.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a second referendum, saying in Brussels that Johnson’s deal -- which he described as a “sell-out” -- was worse than that put forward by May. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said her Scottish Nationalist Party will vote against the deal as well, complaining that it creates too great a separation from the EU.As attention swung toward the vote at Westminster, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered support to Johnson.“If we have a deal, we have a deal and there is no need for prolongation -- that’s not only the British view, that’s my view too,” Juncker said. “He and myself we don’t think that it’s possible to give another prolongation.”Even if the decision over whether to grant an extension may not be his, by playing down the chances of another extension, Juncker is framing the vote in the House of Commons as a straight choice between Johnson’s deal or no deal -- just as the British leader has tried to do himself.That increases the pressure on undecided lawmakers in Westminster to back the government -- but it also raises the cost of failure dramatically.--With assistance from Ian Wishart, Jonathan Stearns, Viktoria Dendrinou, Nikos Chrysoloras, Helene Fouquet, Patrick Donahue, Dara Doyle, John Follain, Katharina Rosskopf, Tiago Ramos Alfaro, Milda Seputyte and Jan Bratanic.To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Ross in London at [email protected];Kitty Donaldson in London at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Edward Evans, Ben SillsFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Holding Off Stimulus in Germany Isn't Just a Political Mantra

18.10.2019 0:00

(Bloomberg) -- When German officials get nagged about delivering major fiscal stimulus, they have plenty of answers ready for why now isn’t the moment.Their arguments don’t just rely on the national obsession with budget prudence and the avoidance of debt though. Officials also cite their assessment of the current situation in Europe’s biggest economy, as well as tactical considerations on how a stimulus package would be effective.Such reasoning might be used often this week in Washington as Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and colleagues attend meetings of the International Monetary Fund, which on Tuesday called for Germany to invest more and reduce taxes to aid its faltering economy. Two days later, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government cut its growth forecast for 2020 to just 1%, after earlier predicting 1.5%. Data due next month may even show the economy has just slipped into recession.The IMF is far from alone. Outgoing European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last month that it is time for “fiscal policy to take charge” in the region, and is likely to repeat that refrain at his final meeting next week. Germany, with ample fiscal space built on repeated budget surpluses, is a prime candidate.While the opposition by some German lawmakers to a fiscal boost is starting to thaw, the government is holding firm for now. Here’s a look at some of the arguments they’re deploying to keep calls for stimulus at bay, based on public statements, private briefings, and confidential conversations with officials.Studying the CycleOne argument is that Germany’s slowdown doesn’t fundamentally stem from domestic weakness and the economic cycle. It’s a result of external and political factors, including global trade tensions and Brexit-related disruption. Such a situation isn’t best served by a classic stimulus response and doesn’t need measures that would normally counter the ebbing of the cycle.It’s Not AppropriateA continuation of that point is that the economy is actually close to its speed limit, with areas such as construction, where a lack of workers is causing bottlenecks, threatening to constrain expansion. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann argued that on Wednesday, saying calls for German fiscal stimulus are “completely disconnected” from reality.“The economy is working with an almost-closed output gap,” he said in response to questions at an event in New York. “Why would you spend money when you are operating at full capacity?”Two-Speed EconomyGerman weakness has generally been limited to manufacturing and isn’t widespread, runs another argument. The auto industry has suffered from trade tensions and a slow response to the global shift toward electric vehicles. But the domestic economy remains healthy, thanks to unemployment near a record low and the benefits of extreme monetary easing.The line of reasoning holds that past spillovers from the industrial sector to the consumer aren’t happening this time, because the link between the two is weaker than it was.“It’s a two-speed Germany,” Trevor Greetham, head of multi-asset management at Royal London Asset Management, told Bloomberg Television. “The consumer is okay, and the housing market is actually rising quite strongly.”The Time Isn’t RightAnother view holds that a major budget stimulus should only be unveiled when it’s widely perceived to be needed. A fiscal boost may be more potent if announced at a time when things are really seen to be deteriorating. That was the experience in 2009 during the global financial crisis. But if ordinary people aren’t much feeling the effects of economic weakness, stimulus now could be less efficient than it otherwise would be.It Needs ThoughtA further point Weidmann made this week is that stimulus should be well aimed and not just delivered for the sake of it, suggesting the need for caution. He recommended targeted spending on infrastructure, research and education, and incentivizing work and investment through tax cuts.“It would be important to use the leeway wisely in order to promote sustainable growth in the long run and not just cause a flash in the pan,” he said.Merkel argued last month that simply spending cash isn’t what’s needed, saying “it’s currently not a lack of money” that’s the problem, and there are sufficient investment projects in the pipeline. They just need to be fast-tracked.--With assistance from Francine Lacqua.To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Stirling in Frankfurt at [email protected];Birgit Jennen in Berlin at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at [email protected], Paul Gordon, Jana RandowFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Failed Senate vote sets up big fight over border wall, budget

17.10.2019 23:34

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday didn’t block President Donald Trump from redirecting taxpayer money to fund a border wall, laying bare the budget crisis that looms over Washington heading into November. The vote was 53 to 36 to override Trump’s veto of legislation nullifying his national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. That fell short, [...]


Protests spread across Lebanon over proposed new taxes

17.10.2019 20:46

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Beirut early Friday after they tried to push through security barriers around the government headquarters amid some of the largest demonstrations the country has seen in years. The protests erupted over the government's plan to impose new taxes during a severe economic crisis, with people taking their anger out on politicians they accuse of corruption and decades of mismanagement. People gathered near the government headquarters and parliament building where riot police were deployed, chanting: "Revolution!" and "Thieves!" — the latter a reference to widespread corruption in a country that has one of the highest debt loads in the world.


Drug companies may pay $50 billion for their role in the opioid crisis

17.10.2019 20:28

Five of the many companies accused in thousands of federal and state lawsuits over the nation's opioid epidemic may settle for over $50 billion, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.


Judge summons drug company CEOs to discuss opioid settlement: source

17.10.2019 20:17

The chief executives of the three largest U.S. drug distributors and a drugmaker have been summoned to appear before a federal judge to discuss a proposal to resolve thousands of lawsuits alleging they fueled the U.S. opioid crisis, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Tags: FED, ISIS, USA, GM, Fuel

WhatsApp protests erupt in Lebanon as economic crisis deepens

17.10.2019 20:01

October 18, 2019 8:01 AM
BEIRUT (BLOOMBERG) - Thousands of protesters cut off roads and burned debris around Lebanon Thursday (Oct 17), as anger over plans to impose a levy on WhatsApp calls escalated into demands for the government to resign.


ISIS expands Syria attacks as Kurds reel from invasion

17.10.2019 19:58

The Islamic State is racing to capitalize on the deteriorating security situation in northern Syria, stepping up attacks on prisons as well as on the now-weakened Kurdish militia that served as the vanguard in the U.S.-led war against the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate, intelligence officials and terrorism experts say. Despite Thursday’s announced cease-fire, Turkey’s week-old incursion [...]


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