Skip directly to content

World News [External Sources]

UK lawmaker sets out plan to stop no-deal Brexit in December 2020

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 4:15am

A British lawmaker proposed an amendment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plan which would prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union at the end of 2020, when a planned transition period is scheduled to end. "I have tabled the following amendment to require the government by default to seek an extension of the transition to Dec 2022 unless MPs pass a resolution to the contrary," former Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles, who now sits as an independent, said on Twitter.


Yemen rebels say Saudi-led airstrike kills 5 civilians

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 4:14am

Yemen's Houthi rebels say an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition has killed at least five civilians, including two children, when it hit a vehicle in a northern province. Youssef al-Hadri, spokesman of the Houthi-run Health Ministry, said in a statement the airstrike took place Monday in Kitaf district of Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthi rebels on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government since 2015.


Trump viewed Ukraine as adversary, not ally, witnesses say

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 4:09am

The president, according to people familiar with testimony in the House impeachment investigation, sees the Eastern European ally, not Russia, as responsible for the interference in the 2016 election that was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. It's a view denied by the intelligence community, at odds with U.S. foreign policy and dismissed by many of Trump's fellow Republicans but part of a broader skepticism of Ukraine being shared with Trump by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his key regional ally Viktor Orban of Hungary. Trump's embrace of an alternative view of Ukraine suggests the extent to which his approach to Kyiv — including his request, now central to the impeachment inquiry, that the Ukraine president do him a "favor" and investigate Democrats — was colored by a long-running, unproven conspiracy theory that has circulated online and in some corners of conservative media.


A Houdini-Like Escape Leaves Canada Divided

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 3:45am

(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Justin Trudeau has hung on, barely.He won over Canada’s urban voters to cling to power in a minority parliament — despite losing the popular vote.Although his mandate has been weakened, the result will come as a relief for Trudeau. He entered the campaign wounded by a scandal over his handling of a judicial case and was further rocked by revelations he wore blackface at least three times when he was younger.A second term will allow him to cement one of the most left-leaning agendas the country has seen in at least a generation — progressive on social issues, willing to run deficits to tackle income disparities, assertive on climate change and fervently internationalist in an era of populist nativism.But the result has exposed a deep fault line between rural Canada and its biggest cities, as well as a stark regional split. The Conservatives, traditional champions of the oil sector, finished strongly in the western provinces, while the separatist Bloc Quebecois more than tripled its tally from 2015.Trudeau will now need to tread carefully after this obvious rebuke, and prepare to ramp up spending to win the support he’ll need as head of a minority government.Global HeadlinesDown to the wire | The future of Syria may come down to a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan today. With the clock ticking on Ankara’s cease-fire for Kurdish fighters to leave northeastern Syria, Putin may press Erdogan to talk with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to prevent a clash between Syrian and Turkish troops.Lobbying blitz | Huawei’s lobbying spending spiked in the third quarter as the Chinese telecom colossus hired a fundraiser for Trump with deep ties to the Republican leadership to help it fight back against the administration’s blacklisting of the company from the U.S. market. Facebook and Amazon.com also set federal lobbying records as Washington ramps up oversight of the tech giants’ business practices.Shaken ‘oasis’ | A country that regularly tops Latin America’s general prosperity metrics, Chile has been rocked by upheaval over the past four days after a protest over a subway-fare hike morphed into an outpouring of broad discontent over economic inequality. The protests, organized mainly on social media, have killed 11 people and brought cities to a near standstill.Unfamiliar home | As Hong Kong’s historic pro-democracy protests become more violent, the more than 1 million mainland Chinese who migrated to the city in recent decades are becoming increasingly fearful. Mainlanders eschew Mandarin Chinese, while out in the Cantonese-speaking city, they monitor social media to avoid protesters and regularly flee across the border to escape the weekend chaos.Prisoner’s dilemma | When NATO jets bombed Serb forces 20 years ago to force them out of Kosovo, Albin Kurti was convicted of terrorism, beaten in jail and packed onto a bus with other political prisoners to be used as a human shield. Now, after his party won this month’s snap elections in the strategically important nation, it will be up to him to try to mend ties with Serbia to open the way for the neighbors to join the European Union.What to WatchBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson will find out this evening whether he has a chance of getting his Brexit deal through Parliament ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline with the second reading of his Withdrawal Agreement Bill. House Democrats are looking to significantly advance the impeachment probe of Trump with testimony today from the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, William Taylor, who had warned it was “crazy” to withhold military aid to get dirt on the president’s political rivals.  Israel may be heading for a third election in less than a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again failed to form a government. Now his centrist rival Benny Gantz will try, but he faces a similarly tough road to mustering a ruling majority. The Khama family has been synonymous with political power in the diamond-producing nation of Botswana, but its role is likely to be diminished after tomorrow’s general election following a split between former president Ian Khama and his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally ... Big Brother is watching you. And you. And you. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years assembling one of the world’s most-comprehensive video-surveillance networks, with about 200,000 cameras and the most sophisticated facial-recognition software outside of China. And it isn’t just western spies they’re looking at, but all 12.6 million Muscovites too. \--With assistance from Karl Maier, Muneeza Naqvi and Kathleen Hunter.To contact the author of this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


EU will treat Brexit extension request in all seriousness - Tusk

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 3:40am

The European Union should treat Britain's request for an extension of the deadline to leave the EU in all seriousness, the chairman of EU leaders Donald Tusk said on Tuesday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who opposes a further extension of the exit deadline after reaching a divorce deal with the EU last week, was forced by his parliament to request a delay until Jan. 31. "I have no doubt that we should treat the British request for an extension in all seriousness," Tusk told the European Parliament after a debate on Brexit.


The Terror Gap: U.S. Laws Let White Supremacists Operate Like ISIS

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 3:00am

Courtesy SITEThe recent arrests of Jarrett William Smith, a former U.S. Army soldier who discussed plans to “bomb a major U.S. news network,” and Conor Climo, a Las Vegas man who plotted attacks on a synagogue and LGBT bar, give an inkling of the growing threat posed by far-right terrorists in the United States.The problem of white supremacist violence is international. From the horrific attack on a mosque in Christ Church, New Zealand, to the assault on a synagogue in the German city of Halle, the movement often follows the same horrific script—live-streaming the carnage, disseminating a manifesto, comments full of tongue-in-cheek internet references—and governments are scrambling to counter this threat. Atomwaffen Division’s Washington State Cell Leader Stripped of Arsenal in U.S., Banned from CanadaBut U.S. laws have a special problem, what might be called a “terror gap” between “foreign” and “domestic” terror organizations.While the arrests of Smith and Climo mark a new level of initiative by the federal government, there is still much more to be done. What allows far-right terrorist groups to thrive in the U.S. is a legal double standard that binds the hands of even the most proactive members of law enforcement.This double standard is exemplified by groups like Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group with major influence in the far-right online community. A video this past May shows people with Atomwaffen patches on their arms carrying out paramilitary drills with assault rifles. They then burn the flags of Israel, the United Nations, the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” snake, the gay pride rainbow, Black Lives Matter, the police-supporting Thin Blue Line—designating any and all as enemies. If it weren’t for the Atomwaffen branding, you’d think you were watching footage of an ISIS training camp on American soil.Now combine this militancy with a widely aimed recruitment operation. Messages on Telegram, the far-right’s current online hub, recruit on behalf of Atomwaffen, directing prospects to different email addresses of region-specific chapters across the US, Europe, South America, and Australia. Minding its popularity, it’s not surprising to see that Atomwaffen has inspired other neo-Nazis to launch offshoot chapters or like-minded groups across the globe, such as Feuerkrieg Division, a growing neo-Nazi organization which both Climo and Smith were associated with.Media by such groups often advocate for terrorism and praise far-right attackers, including the Halle shooter and Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers.This type of propaganda is a major lifeblood to the far-right community, just as it is for any extremist group or movement—no terrorist organization can grow without it. The world witnessed the power of media with the rise of ISIS, leading governments to counter propagandists with the same urgency as fighters or financiers. That is precisely why last October, a 34-year-old man named Ashraf Al Safoo was arrested for his work with Khattab Media Foundation, a prominent ISIS-linked media group that issued scores of threats and incitements against elections, public events, and other targets. Safoo himself never killed or planned to kill anyone, but the media he created helped amplify ISIS’ dangerous message, making him no less guilty of aiding the group. Taking note of Safoo’s story, you might ask yourself how groups like Atomwaffen or Feuerkrieg Division can run their threat propaganda machines—let alone carry out paramilitary drills with the objective of overthrowing the U.S. government—with little to no interference. The answer is simple: what they do is, for the most part, not illegal.The reason the U.S. government can arrest ISIS recruiters or media workers like Safoo and others is because the groups they support are Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), making their activities grounds for, in the language of court documents, “conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” To support or be a member of an FTO in any capacity is a crime.While actual acts of domestic terrorism—killing, assaulting, harassing—are obvious crimes, being a member of domestic terrorist organizations like Atomwaffen or Feuerkrieg Division in and of itself is not, despite their blatantly stated goals to spark collapse of the U.S. through terrorism. The very phrase “domestic terrorist group” is in many ways legally meaningless. As assistant FBI Director Michael McGarrity explained before the House Homeland Security Committee in May: “A white supremacist organization is an ideology, it's a belief. But they're not designated as a terrorist organization.”This lack of adequate domestic terror laws too often leaves far-right terrorist propaganda, incitement, and recruitment messages under the classification of hate speech, something protected under the First Amendment. A group like Atomwaffen, which bluntly and loudly states its goals for violence, is a perfect example of why this makes for a domestic security crisis. Noting this problem, I’d like to echo the yet small but growing voices of legislators and others seeking to end this double standard in how we protect our nation from terrorism. The world has made immense progress against ISIS online and on the ground, in no small part due to the clear-cut laws against promoting it, whether financially, militarily, through its incitement propaganda machine. That said, the U.S. legal system shouldn’t have to wait until the brink of an attack—or, as it too often does, the aftermath of one—to prosecute terrorists like Climo or Smith. Membership of a group like Atomwaffen should bear all the same legal weight as ISIS, al Qaeda, or any other terrorist organization we don’t flinch at pursuing. U.S. Soldier Discussed Plans to Bomb News Network, Kill Beto O’Rourke: FedsAny such list of designations should be regularly updated to address the rapidly changing landscape of groups that either form or, under pressure, dissolve only to reemerge under different names.Such laws will make it immensely clearer to these far-right organizations and the platforms hosting them that they cannot remain online.I don’t embrace such measures lightly. I’ve been very vocal throughout my counter-terrorism career speaking out against overreaching measures by the government, whether attempting to regulating encrypted messenger services or other ill-guided policies.But the far-right community has grown dramatically in the last year, with new waves of attacks and uninterrupted online spaces that inspire them—a very similar condition to that of ISIS shortly before it established its so-called Caliphate. This is a critical moment for the U.S. government to prove if it is capable of learning from history. While terrorist legislation will not be a silver bullet to stop the threat of attacks by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, it would mark a major step in the right direction.As it’s increasingly said these days, "Terrorism is terrorism.” So why perpetuate the legal double standard?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.


Iranian Hacking Group Targeted Satellite Industry Nerds

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 2:57am

Photo Illustration by The Daily BeastIranian hackers breached computers of the American satellite technology industry with help from a fake website and an unsuspecting college professor. Court documents obtained by The Daily Beast show that the FBI believes Iranian hackers going by the nicknames MRSCO and N3O may have been involved in the attempted breaches. The hackers, members of a long-running Iranian hacker collective known as the “Iranian Dark Coders Team,” have become known for defacing websites with pro-Iranian and Hezbollah propaganda, hacking gas-station pump terminals online, and attacking an Israeli credit-card company over the past seven years. The Department of Justice declined to comment publicly on the investigation. The FBI began investigating the campaign when unnamed satellite trackers tipped off the Bureau that someone was sending out malware-laden spear-phishing emails in an attempt to trick recipients into downloading software hosted on a website made to look like a legitimate app for finding satellite orbits. The messages, written in stilted English, advertised an “ultimate software for tracking satellite [sic]” and were allegedly sent to members of a satellite-tracking website after the site had been hacked. Iran’s Cyber Army Is Under Attack From All SidesAgents pulled the registration information for the bait website and found that the hackers had tried to impersonate an employee of the commercial satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe when creating the site in order to make the software downloads appear genuine. One recipient of the poisoned emails noticed that code embedded in the fake satellite technology company’s website contained noteworthy strings of text. A download link for the malicious software contained a script that included the phrases “IraNiaN DarK CoderS TeaM” and “Israel Fucked by M.R.S.CO And Ali.Pci.”That text, law enforcement officials believed, pointed to a well-known hacker collective, the Iranian Dark Coders Team, and one of its top members, who goes by the nickname MRSCO. The group hacked gas pump software exposed to the internet in 2015 and in 2012 defaced Israeli sites with the slogan “Remember Emad,” a reference to the Hezbollah terrorist operative Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a joint U.S.-Israeli operation in 2008.Iranian hacking groups have been involved in a number of sophisticated attacks over the years, including break-ins at Saudi oil facilities and a nuclear power plant in New York state. But the Dark Coders team has tended to focus more on cybervandalism and less advanced hacks than other groups operating from the Islamic Republic. For example, federal agents found that MRSCO claimed 37 hacks on Zone-H, a site that tracks self-reported website defacements, and that “at least 13 of these hacks involved U.S. facilities”In addition to MRSCO, law enforcement believes that another member of the Dark Coders Team was also involved in a similar attempt to hack people in the U.S. satellite industry. FBI agents wrote that the Iranian hackers compromised the email account of an unnamed geology professor and used it to send spear-phishing email to a “U.S. person employed at a satellite imagery company.” When FBI agents spoke to the professor, they learned that he was unaware that his account had been compromised and said he had not used it for years. Messages sent by the Iranian hackers from his old email account asked the recipient to download and test a parallel image-processing application hosted on a Dropbox accounts. Investigators looking into the attacks believe that Dropbox accounts registered to email addresses associated with MRSCO and another Iranian Dark Coder Team Member, “N3O,” are associated with the hacking campaign of the impersonated geologist. It’s unclear exactly why the Dark Coders Team targeted Americans in the satellite industry or what kind of data they sought. The Iranian government has invested heavily in building up its hacking capabilities and taken on targets in the U.S. and the Middle East. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified in 2018 that Iranian hackers ranked alongside hacking groups from China, Russia, and North Korea as among the greatest cyberthreats to the U.S.But just because the Dark Coders Team is Iranian doesn’t necessarily mean that they were pursuing satellite industry targets at the explicit direction of the Iranian government. One cybersecurity researcher who tracks Iranian hackers and asked not to be identified for security reasons told The Daily Beast that “Iran’s hacking community is a mixture of ideologues, criminals, and opportunists—all with differing relationships with the regime. As a pariah state with little access to foreign technologies, there are rich opportunities for those in Iran with a bit of technical skill who want to make a fast dollar engaging in fraud and industrial espionage, and the government is a willing buyer.” There’s plenty of precedent, the researcher suggests, to suggest that the Dark Coders Team is made up of “freelancers with a bit of ambition and an ambition to sell stolen information to the government.”Russia’s Troll Farm Is Kind of Sh*tting the Bed on FacebookRead 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.


How Hong Kong Protesters Show Which Businesses Are Friend or Foe

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 2:56am

Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Photos Getty/ReutersHONG KONG—Yellow shop, blue shop, red shop, black shop?That isn’t the first line in a modern nursery rhyme. Rather, it outlines an act of resistance that the people of Hong Kong participate in every day.Recognizing that the path to true self-governance is one that will take years, if not longer, Hongkongers are adopting small-scale actions so that the protest movement does not stall. Medical professionals have daily strikes during daylight hours. In the evenings, people meet at certain public squares or in shopping mall atriums so they have a constant, regular presence. At night, some yell out protest slogans through their apartment windows. Hong Kong Imposes Face Mask Ban, Inflaming ProtestersStreet-level actions don’t have the seven-figure turnout like months ago, and are often more scattered throughout the city. There’s worry that Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, will invoke emergency powers and cancel the upcoming district elections, where pro-democracy candidates are expected to grab many new seats. So, Hongkongers have shifted tactics, and are, for now, voting with their wallets.For the past few weeks, lists of businesses have been circulating in Hong Kong, each name carrying a color code that defines the stance of its proprietors and general outlook regarding the ongoing protests that have evolved into a movement to shake off the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in the city’s affairs.Shops and brands that are “yellow”—the color of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014—are mostly local, and each in its own way supports those who wear black clothing, gas masks, and hard hats every weekend to translate city-wide discontent into street-level action. “Blue” businesses are those where you might find the staff wearing “I (heart) the police” T-shirts, as well as outspoken supporters of the establishment and Carrie Lam.“Red” shops are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, while “black” shops—not to be confused with protester-black—are CCP fronts or belong to the Party through direct ownership or shell companies.The lists serve as guidelines for consumption. Hongkongers are encouraged to spend their dollars at businesses like independent bookshops and certain eateries that are marked “yellow.” Restaurants that are “blue” have seen steep drops in footfalls in many districts because of the boycott. Starbucks is a chain that is often smashed up during large marches, because it is managed by local conglomerate Maxim’s Caterers; in September, Annie Wu, the daughter of Maxim’s founder, spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council along with other tycoons, utilizing talking points from CCP propaganda to condemn the blackshirt protesters in her city.Overtly Chinese businesses see the harshest attacks. A branch of Tong Ren Tang, a 350-year-old traditional Chinese medicine maker that was founded in Beijing, was set on fire on Sunday night. Throughout the month, Bank of China and China Construction Bank branches saw their ATMs torched in several neighborhoods in the city; some of these banks’ locations are now encased in steel walls to prevent protesters from forcing their way in.The attacks on “blue,” “red,” and “black” locations have lasted for weeks in Hong Kong, and they remind us of scenes from when the blackshirts briefly seized the legislative building in July. There is chaos, but also discipline: No stealing, especially cash. Looting is forbidden.Raining on China’s Big Parade: Hong Kong Protests Give the Lie to ‘One State, Two Systems’In fact, after the fire set at a store opened by Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone and consumer electronics company, was put out on Sunday night, one man who was found to be scavenging for new phones was apprehended and tied up by protesters, and then left on the street with a handwritten cardboard sign that read “thief.”On some days, especially over the weekends, there’s a heavy dose of vigilantism on the streets in Hong Kong, yet support from the public remains high. A mid-October poll conducted by the Center for Communication and Public Opinion Survey at the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicates that more than 70 percent of people in the city believe that it is acceptable for protestors to use some level of force in the current conditions.The yellow-blue dichotomy was originally meant to be a boycott campaign, and it quickly gained traction. (The “red” and “black” tags were added later.) After Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers to implement a ban on masks, fewer people have been willing to hit the streets for marches than in the summer (though many still wear face masks during their commutes and regular, daily situations to signal their dissatisfaction). Boycotts of “blue” businesses were designed to be a mode of daily participation in the larger blackshirt movement, so that people would be mindful of channeling their disposable income toward proprietors who keep the welfare of the city in mind.This act may be small, but it’s a constant reminder that the Chinese Communist Party’s greatest weapon in Hong Kong is one that is commercial, wielded by its tycoon proxies and shell companies that are swallowing up swathes of industries.In mid-September, local pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily ran a report that Lam had met with more than 30 senior managers of Chinese state-owned enterprises, discussing the possibility of these companies taking more control of various business sectors in Hong Kong. Lam denied that was the case, saying the meeting was routine.And yet the CCP has a history of using businesses to distort public discourse in Hong Kong. The most explicit example is the Party’s progress in monopolizing the city’s media and publishing industries. The CCP owns two newspapers in the city, Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao. The English-language broadsheet with the highest circulation in the city, the South China Morning Post, was bought in 2016 by Alibaba, which has become an e-commerce juggernaut with the blessing of Beijing. And as of four years ago, the Party’s liaison office in Hong Kong—its political representative in the city—enjoys around an 80 percent market share in book publishing, printing, distribution, and retail.For individuals who refuse to compromise their principles, things can escalate quickly. In 2014, the once-liberal newspaper Ming Pao saw its chief editor nearly hacked to death by men armed with cleavers. It was widely believed that the assault was political motivated. On more than one occasion, the house of Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai was firebombed.Will the boycott of non-“yellow” businesses work? Likely not—at least not if the goal is to remove Chinese capital from the port city. Hong Kong and mainland China’s economies are inseparable. Look hard enough at any set of books, and you’ll likely find a Chinese supplier, customer, or even investor that is linked to the business. (That’s not to say all money from mainland China flows from the Party, though some elements in the blackshirt movement do not make the distinction.) And, boycotts aside, should an individual’s opinions or political beliefs lead to the physical destruction of a business?For now, those details are overlooked by many protesters. The blackshirt movement’s color-coded resistance is keeping the broader population engaged, asserting an acutely anti-CCP message in everyone’s minds at all times. In those terms, it has been extremely effective.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.


Alex Gibney: How Donald Trump Is Morphing Into Vladimir Putin

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 2:55am

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyLONDON—One of America’s leading documentary-makers set off on a project to examine the extraordinary life of Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and came away with the discomforting realization that President Trump is morphing into Vladimir Putin.Alex Gibney’s Citizen K traces Putin’s evolution from political newbie to uncompromising autocrat whose ability to harness the power of TV allowed him to gain total control over a democratic state.“It’s a cautionary tale,” Gibney told The Daily Beast. “There’s a lot that Putin and Trump share in common.”One of the scenes in the documentary, which played at the London Film Festival, shows Putin watching as political advisers working for his predecessor Boris Yeltsin set up a fake office to impress television audiences.“The lesson that Putin saw was: ‘Yeah. All right. I get it. Just lie. Use the media to lie,’” Gibney said. “I didn’t realize what a manufactured character he was. What a TV-manufactured character. He learned the lessons of television very well. He wasn’t a kind of born politician. The people around him, their ability to use TV to create this larger-than-life James Bond-like figure—that took over.”Gibney sees obvious parallels in the way the reality-TV star Donald Trump used his media persona and endless TV appearances to win the presidency.Even more alarmingly, there’s a clear parallel with the way Putin gaslights his entire nation.‘Going Clear’ Filmmaker Alex Gibney: Harvey Weinstein Is Just the BeginningPussy Riot’s Nadya on the Disturbing Putin-Trump Bromance: ‘He’d Love to Have as Much Power as Putin’The film includes a section on Putin telling obvious, outright lies about the attempted murder of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, in southwest England. At the time, Putin backed the claims made on camera by two Russian intelligence agents, who were caught on CCTV heading to Salisbury on the day of the nerve-agent attack, saying they had flown to England simply to see the local cathedral and hoped to squeeze in a trip to Stonehenge.“Talking about the whole Skripal attempted killings, it’s like Putin is saying: ‘We’re obviously lying. We don’t care that you know we’re lying. And by the way, we’re going to do it anyway. So go fuck yourselves.’ It’s like Trump saying, ‘There were more people at my inauguration than any other inauguration in history.’ You can look at the photographs. You don’t have to count the numbers. It’s a lie. But maybe more than a lie, it’s bullshit,” Gibney said.“But you promote it, and it’s weirdly effective for the people who want to be behind you. It’s like you’re rooting for the balls, not for the brain.”Of course, Putin used his mendacious television strategy to quash dissent and then to twist the spirit of Russia’s constitution to allow himself to retain power beyond the two-term limit. It’s hard to imagine him stepping down anytime soon without a fight.“The classic example is Xi Jinping in China,” said Gibney. “He’s announced he’s gonna stay there. Will Putin do that? That will be the really interesting moment coming up. Will they find some mechanism to allow him to continue on in power?”One of the most striking sections of the movie shows Gibney asking Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man and now an exiled opposition figure, what he thought was Putin’s biggest nightmare. “He took me literally, which I found fascinating,” said Gibney.Khodorkovsky, who founded the anti-Putin Open Russia organization, described a nightmare scenario in which the Kremlin phones suddenly stop working and no one answers Putin’s calls for assistance. He realizes this means the game is up and the gangsters are coming for him.“One way to avoid that eventuality is to make sure that you never leave,” said Gibney. “If the gangsters think you’re leaving office, then you’re not useful to them anymore.”Something similar must be rushing through Trump’s head as congressional inquiries, federal probes, and tax investigations mount.“I think in the back of everyone’s minds they’re terrified of the idea that whether Trump loses in 2020 or whether he gets another four years, how can he imagine stepping down?” said Gibney.“So many norms have been bent and twisted out of shape.”Mikhail KhodorkovskyGreenwich Entertainment“With Trump, there is a real fear that whenever he steps down—if he steps down—from his perspective, he’ll be prosecuted, he’ll be sent to jail. How do you forestall that eventuality? It’s the same thing with Putin—there are a lot of parallels in the film.”Khodorkovsky, the “Citizen K” of the film’s title, was one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs after successfully exploiting the post-Soviet privatization of the economy to rack up a personal fortune that Forbes estimated at around $15 billion.The documentary shows how he fell out of favor with Putin after publicly experimenting with his own pro-democracy instincts. Eventually he would be arrested by Russian special forces and put on trial on trumped-up charges.The trial resembles a Kafkaesque dystopia with ludicrous evidence presented by prosecutors who keep a straight face while Khodorkovsky smirks from behind bars at the craziness of it. “It’s an absurdist thing, and that by the way is an old theme that runs through Russian literature, the absurdity of power. When power says something is black and it’s clearly white,” said Gibney. “That’s why there’s so much time spent in the film on sculpting perception; it was clearly important for the state to have these trials to show that they’ve got a vigorous legal system.”By the end of the trial, Khodokovsky is jailed and his business destroyed.“For all sorts of practical and political reasons, Putin puts him in prison and, by the way, uses it as a demonstration of his power and his enduring political influence: ‘I brought to heel the oligarchs who so raped and pillaged this country.’ But then of course all around him he surrounds himself with oligarchs 2.0,” said Gibney. “That’s a classic Trumpian move. Even as he’s able to claim that he’s coming to power to drain the swamp, he’s filling it full of alligators—but they’re his alligators. Call it gangster capitalism or crony capitalism that they both represent.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.


EXPLAINER-As PM Johnson pushes ahead with Brexit, what happens now in parliament?

Yahoo World News Feed - October 22, 2019 - 2:54am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to drive the legislation needed to take Britain out of the European Union through parliament in the next 9 days, or else break his "do or die" pledge to leave on Oct. 31. Johnson was forced on Monday to abandon his attempt to have a straight 'yes or no' vote on his Brexit deal, and is instead trying to speed through the legislation for Britain to leave the EU through the lower and upper houses of parliament. After more than three years of negotiations, it is unclear as to how, whether or when a deeply divided Britain will leave the bloc, more than 40 years after the country joined the project.


Lebanon Pledges Bank Tax as Part of Sweeping Drive to End Unrest

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 10:20am

(Bloomberg) -- Lebanese officials promised to tax banks and slash their own pay as they unveiled an unprecedented package of measures to avert a financial meltdown and appease tens of thousands of protesters demanding they leave power.The emergency plan, announced Monday by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, includes the approval of a 2020 budget targeting a deficit of 0.6% of economic output with no other taxes or borrowing and more aid to poorer families.“Your movement is what led to these decisions today,” Hariri said in a powerful televised address, saying people had the right to keep protesting. “The demands are many and justified and varies but the clear demand that everyone united around was for dignity and respect and for them and their voice.The vision was met with skepticism by economists, not least because Lebanon’s budget deficit stood at just under 12% of gross domestic product in 2018. And while the plans appear to meet demands for change that have gone answered for decades -- including an end to electricity blackouts -- they did little to calm tempers in the street.Demonstrators gathered for a fifth day said they would remain -- settling for nothing less than a wholesale change to a political system based on sectarian power-sharing and the removal of a political elite they say has lined its pockets by exploiting poverty and differences.The stakes are high for Lebanon, which straddles the region’s geopolitical fault-lines and has often been a proxy battleground for the Middle East’s broader conflicts. The 15-year civil war ended in 1990 but still haunts a country where the warlords became the rulers and have remained in power ever since. It’s that class that protesters say has plundered the state, leaving it unable to provide basic services and close to bankruptcy.Highlighting the depth of public anger, the revolt for the first time cut across sectarian and political lines, with demonstrators taking aim at both local lawmakers and senior politicians in a way that was, until recently, unimaginable.“The problem is there is no trust in them, all of them. I don’t trust a single one,” said Elie Sleiman, a young businessman, who was carrying a large Lebanese flag. “We need a technocratic government, a new election law that is not sectarian and new elections. That would be a good start.”How Lebanon’s Unrest Is Both New and More of the Same: QuickTakeClock TicksTime isn’t on Lebanon’s side. One of the most indebted countries in the world, it needs to find fresh sources of funding as the foreign inflows on which it has traditionally relied have dried up.Even after Hariri’s speech, the yield on Lebanon’s Eurobonds due in 2021 was up more than 300 basis points on Monday to almost 24%, a record.“The deficit target is both unrealistic and unnecessary,” said Ziad Daoud, Dubai-based Chief Middle East Economist, Bloomberg Economics. “It’s just short of fantasy to expect it to go from near double digits to zero in one year. Fiscal sustainability requires a reduction of the deficit, but not necessarily to this extent. The goal was likely chosen for theatrics.”Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, has traditionally been backed by Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has withheld support as the influence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah over the government has grown. It has ignored Hariri’s pleas for financial aid to avert a looming debt crisis.Meanwhile, Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Muslim armed group with a powerful political wing, has seen its own income dwindle as the U.S. sanctions some of its members as well as its main backer, Iran. With financial pressures rising, Hezbollah and its allies have opposed Hariri’s push to impose taxes and take other measures they fear will harm low income families that form a large section of their support base.The reform package promises to impose a one-off tax on bank revenues and cut ministers’ salaries by 50%. It also promises to implement the much-delayed restructuring of an electricity sector that loses $2 billion a year and to look at the possibility of selling off part of the telecoms sector, where a lack of competition has lead to some of the highest costs in the region.The government also pledged to meet the conditions required to unlock about $11 billion in international aid pledges made at a donor conference in Paris 18 months ago -- key to reviving a moribund economy and averting a debt crunch.The International Monetary Fund projects Lebanon’s current-account deficit will reach almost 30% of GDP by the end of this year. It predicts that economic growth, stagnant at 0.3% in 2018, would continue to be weak. Public debt is projected to increase to 155% of GDP by the end of 2019.“None of this satisifies the protesters’ core demands: removal of a deeply corrupt, sectarian and inept oligarchy whose systemic function is to divide, exploit, and profit off of a subjected society,” said Paul Salem, president of the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. “They’ve had enough; they want fundamental change: this is not it.”No More TrustAgainst this backdrop, banks, schools and the stock market were shut on Monday, as were many businesses. Protesters blocked roads around the country as protesters filled the streets waving the flag.The financial crisis has been years in the making. For months, sporadic protests and strikes have erupted as a shortage of dollars squeezes businesses and threatens a currency peg in place for more than two decades.Four ministers loyal to the Lebanese Forces, a major Christian party allied to Hariri, resigned from the government on Satruday night, saying they had lost their confidence in the government’s ability to change. Other ministers have stayed on, saying they feared a vacuum would hasten the moment of financial reckoning.In downtown Beirut, crowds stayed on as night fell, waving the red and white flag and dancing to blaring music in a festive atmosphere. “We want 24-hour electricity, 24-hour water, free hospitals for the poor, free good schools. We pay taxes and we get nothing and they want to increase them as well?” said Iman, who runs a snack bar in Beirut, declining to give her full name for privacy. “We want a new generation, not the old faces. Get rid of the sectarian system. Let Lebanese just be a Lebanese and not have to beg a sectarian leader for help securing their most basic needs.”To contact the reporters on this story: Lin Noueihed in Beirut at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net;Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Alaa Shahine, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Speaker Denies Johnson New Vote on Divorce Deal: Brexit Update

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 10:03am

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson was thwarted in his latest attempt to get his Brexit deal approved in Parliament, in another blow to his effort to take the U.K. out of the European Union in 10 days’ time. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow rejected the government’s bid to trigger a second parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal the prime minister secured last week in Brussels. Bercow said members of Parliament had already debated and voted on Johnson’s deal in principle in a rare sitting on Saturday -- two days ago -- and they had decided to delay taking a final decision on whether to approve or reject it.The prime minister cannot keep asking MPs to answer the same question in an attempt to get them to change their minds, Bercow said, citing a parliamentary convention dating back to 1604."It is clear that the motions are in substance the same," Bercow said. "My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so."On Saturday, Parliament voted to postpone a final verdict on Johnson’s Brexit deal until after detailed legislation has been passed to implement it, a move designed to prevent the U.K. accidentally tumbling out of the European Union with no deal.Johnson has vowed repeatedly to force the U.K. out of the EU with or without a deal by the current Oct. 31 deadline. He will now attempt to fast-track the draft law to implement his exit agreement through Parliament over the next 10 days, as he battles to deliver Brexit on time.Betrayal, Jealousy and Cliff Edges: Johnson’s Brexit MinefieldKey Developments:Speaker John Bercow ruled a second vote on Johnson’s Brexit deal cannot take place on Monday Ministers said Sunday the government has enough support in Parliament to get Johnson’s Brexit deal ratifiedDUP’s Jim Shannon says the party won’t back an amendment to the deal to keep the U.K. in a customs union with the EU, after Labour said it is seeking support for such a moveGovernment says it will introduce Brexit bill on MondayPound rises above $1.30 for the first time since May on speculation Johnson will win MPs’ backing for his Brexit deal this weekCorbyn Demands Economic Impact Assessment (4:30 p.m.)Opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has put an urgent question to the government, calling for ministers to publish an assessment of the economic impact of the exit deal Johnson brokered last week with the EU.Earlier on Monday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said in a letter to Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee that there’s no need for an impact assessment because the benefits of the deal are "self-evidently in our economic interest."Bercow Bans New Vote on Brexit Deal Today (3:40 p.m.)Commons Speaker John Bercow threw another obstacle in Johnson’s way, rejecting the prime minister’s attempt to put his Brexit deal to another vote, just two days after MPs debated it.Bercow cited a parliamentary rule dating back to 1604 under which the government cannot repeatedly ask Parliament to vote on the exact same motion."It is clear that the motions are in substance the same," Bercow said. "My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so."Judges Extend Decision on Johnson, Benn Act (1 p.m.)Scottish judges held off on ruling on a case brought by opponents of a no-deal Brexit to ensure that Prime Minister Boris Johnson complies with a law requiring he reach an agreement with the European Union on leaving or postponing the country’s departure.The panel didn’t set a date for the next hearing when releasing their decision in Edinburgh on Monday. The opponents are seeking a continuation to ensure that Johnson accepts an extension from the EU if it’s offered.Johnson Would Pull Vote on Deal If MPs Amend It (11:30 a.m.)Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the government would pull a planned “meaningful vote” on its Brexit deal if Members of Parliament “render it pointless” with amendments, the prime minister’s spokesman told reporters in London. In any case, the vote would only go ahead if Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow allows it, James Slack said.The government wants to hold a second reading of its Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Tuesday, Slack said. It will be published once it’s introduced to the House of Commons later on Monday. He said the government aims to submit its so-called program motion on Tuesday to fast-track the legislation, but is also holding discussions on when to pull the draft law if amendments take it too far from the deal agreed with the EU.Slack also said negotiations with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which the government still considers to be its partner in Parliament, are ongoing to try to persuade its MPs to back Johnson’s Brexit deal.Government to Introduce Brexit Bill (10:15 a.m.)The U.K. government confirmed it will introduce its Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the crucial piece of law that will incorporate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal into British statute, on Monday.“MPs and peers will today have in front of them a bill that will get Brexit done by October 31, protect jobs and the integrity of the U.K., and enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime,” Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said in an emailed statement. “If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”DUP Will Not Support Customs Union: Shannon (9:30 a.m.)Democratic Unionist Party MP Jim Shannon told Sky News his party is “meeting shortly” to discuss issues including potential amendments to the government’s Brexit legislation, but ruled out backing any move to keep the U.K. in the European Union’s customs union.“We are clear where we stand on the customs union, that’s something that the cannot support and will not support,” Shannon said.The comments come after the main opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said his party would back amendments on a second referendum and a customs union, and made a direct appeal to the DUP to rethink their opposition to the latter. Getting an amendment through the House of Commons would likely require the DUP’s votes.Baker: Will Compromise to Get U.K. Out of EU (Earlier)Steve Baker, chairman of the Conservative Party’s European Research Group pro-Brexit caucus, told BBC Radio on Monday his colleagues are prepared to compromise to get the U.K. out of the European Union on Oct. 31.His advice to the group is “that we should number one back the deal, number two vote for the legislation all the way through unless it was wrecked by opponents,” Baker said, though he notably did not rule out accepting a deal that keeps the U.K. in the EU’s customs union.“For people like me, vast areas of that Withdrawal Agreement are unchanged and we are going to have to choke down our pride and vote in the national interest to get Brexit done,” he said.Earlier:Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens NextJohnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the VotesU.K. Starts ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Preparations as EU Poised to Delay\--With assistance from Christopher Elser, Greg Ritchie, Jessica Shankleman, Andrew Atkinson, Robert Hutton and Tiago Ramos Alfaro.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, ;Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon's government approves sweeping reforms amid protests

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 10:00am

Lebanon's Cabinet approved a package of economic reforms and a 2020 budget with no new taxes on Monday, hoping to appease the thousands of protesters that have taken to the streets for the last five days to demand the government step down. Prime Minister Saad Hariri described the measures as a "financial coup," saying no government in Lebanon's history has taken such steps before. As Hariri's speech was aired live on all local TV stations, thousands of protesters who had gathered in central Beirut chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime." The number of protesters swelled following the Cabinet announcement, amid intense skepticism the reforms amounted to anything serious.


U.K. Parliament won't vote on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal today like he wanted

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:56am

The Brexit clock is ticking for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and he just hit another momentary snag.With 10 days remaining until the Oct. 31 deadline, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow denied Johnson's attempt to put the Brexit deal he brokered with the European Union up for a "meaningful vote" Monday. Bercow said the motion was the same as the one that was debated Saturday before Parliament passed an amendment requiring Johnson to ask for an extension from the EU before voting on his deal, which he did begrudgingly.Bercow said debating the motion again would "be repetitive and disorderly," citing a parliamentary rule from 1604 which prohibits the government from repeatedly asking Parliament to vote on the exact same motion. The speaker did say he was not preventing a vote on Johnson's legislation at a later date, but added that MPs must see the legislation, which is being introduced for a first reading Monday, first. Once they've gone through that, MPs will vote on whether to back it tomorrow.> "Nothing in what I have said, in any way impinges upon the opportunity for the government to secure approval of its deal" - John Bercow says it's "not for the Speaker to interfere" and makes "no apology" for his decision > > Latest Brexit updates: https://t.co/3zdhRbANWj pic.twitter.com/SuxnYb9Kp5> > -- BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 21, 2019Bercow received some pushback for his decision from Conservatives, and a spokesperson for Johnson said the government was "disappointed," but several other MPs respected the conclusion. Read more at The Financial Times and The Guardian.


Thousands protest in Sudan, call to disband ex-ruling party

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:52am

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets throughout Sudan on Monday to call for disbanding former President Omar al-Bashir's party, the political organ he used to control the country during his 30 years of autocratic rule before being ousted in April. Separately, Sudan's transitional government and a main rebel faction signed a political declaration amid peace negotiations that began last week, taking a new step toward ending the country's yearslong civil wars. Sudan's current transitional government came to power after a similar campaign of mass unrest, which eventually led the military to overthrow al-Bashir.


Residents of northeast Syria city pelt departing US troops

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:52am

Angry over the U.S. withdrawal, residents of a Kurdish-dominated Syrian city hurled potatoes at departing American military vehicles as they drove by on Monday. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said U.S. troops will stay in eastern Syria to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at least the coming weeks and he was discussing options to keep them there. "Like rats, America is running away," one man shouted in Arabic at a convoy of armored vehicles flying American flags passing down an avenue in the northeastern city of Qamishli, according to video by the Kurdish news agency.


Youtube star banned from Internet in China

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:38am

Youtube star PewDiePie has been banned from China allegedly for talking about protests in Hong Kong, China, and mocking President Xi Jinping for his resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.


UK's Corbyn mocks PM Johnson for sending Brexit delay letter

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:23am

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party mocked Prime Minister Boris Johnson for sending a letter to ask for a Brexit delay after saying "over and over again" that he would never do it. Jeremy Corbyn told the House of Commons that Johnson's request had been handled with "posturing and attempts to distract" but said the letter had now been sent.


Betrayal, Jealousy and Cliff Edges: Johnson’s Brexit Minefield

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:22am

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson is giving members of Parliament only a few days to debate the most important change to Britain’s constitution in almost 50 years. The outcome will decide the fate of Brexit and potentially his own future.Unlike his predecessor, Theresa May, the prime minister wants Britain to have far looser ties with the European Union after leaving, which means withdrawing in full from the bloc’s customs union. That decision may have helped him to pacify the Tory right, which torpedoed May’s proposals three times, but it leaves him facing opposition on multiple fronts. The opposition Labour party, for starters, wants to remain in the EU customs union.With the voting in Parliament on whether to back his deal too close to call, here are some of the key issues that Johnson has to navigate.Northern IrelandThe Democratic Unionist Party has refused to back his deal because it would see Northern Ireland being treated differently for customs purposes to the rest of the U.K. The grouping is also unhappy that it won’t be able to exercise a veto on the arrangements, after Johnson diluted it in an effort to secure the EU’s backing for his plans.The DUP’s view matters because the opposition of the party’s 10 MPs contributed to Johnson losing a key Brexit vote on Saturday. Can he win them over? Unlikely, as my colleague Dara Doyle has explained here.Johnson Has a Big Brexit Problem: His Northern Irish FriendsScotlandIf they can have it, why can’t we? Voters in Scotland, who overwhelmingly wanted to remain in the EU, are unlikely to relish the idea that Johnson’s deal will give Northern Ireland special treatment. The province will be closely aligned with the EU’s customs rules, potentially giving companies in the region an advantage over their Scottish peers.The Scottish National Party will almost certainly ramp up pressure for a second independence referendum after Brexit. Will Johnson be able to avoid the breakup of the U.K.?2020 Cliff EdgeThe Withdrawal Agreement Bill creates a new cliff edge: If a free trade agreement hasn’t been reached with the EU by the end of 2020 (or up to two years later, if both sides agree) then we are back to leaving without a deal. When Conservative MP John Baron pointed that risk out in a BBC interview, waverers took it to mean that Johnson isn’t serious about leaving with a divorce agreement.The Not-So-Level Playing FieldThe prime minister moved the U.K.’s commitments to abide by EU standards on tax, labor protections and environmental standards from the Withdrawal Agreement into the Political Declaration -- which, crucially, isn’t legally binding.Johnson has pledged to protect labor rights, but opposition Labour politicians are deeply skeptical he really means it. He will need to convince at least a few to believe him if he is to get his deal through Parliament.Second Referendum?Labour is backing an amendment to put Johnson’s Brexit deal to hold another referendum -- something the government has so far resisted.(Updates cliff edge section.)To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Evans in London at eevans3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Pound Stays Near Highest Since May; No Brexit Vote Coming Monday

Yahoo World News Feed - October 21, 2019 - 9:18am

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Sterling traded near a five-month high amid speculation Prime Minister Boris Johnson will eventually be able to win parliamentary backing for his Brexit deal.The pound clung to the $1.30 mark, even as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow rejected the government’s attempt to bring back the divorce agreement for debate Monday. A vote on the deal failed at the weekend and that pressured sterling at the market open. But the British currency has since recovered, with strategists arguing that any dip would prove short-lived, and approval for the deal may ultimately be possible. U.K. government bonds slid and stocks advanced.With the parliamentary vote likely to be decided by fine margins, sterling failed to build on gains after breaching the $1.30 mark. The U.K. prime minister needs to garner support of 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal -- he likely has 62, according to a Bloomberg analysis.“It’s all to play for and while the numbers in parliament are extremely tight, we would give the probability of success for the government at 60%,” strategists at MUFG, including Lee Hardman, wrote in a client note before the speaker’s decision Monday. “We would expect to see sterling into a new equilibrium range of $1.30-$1.35 if parliament approves the deal as we expect.”The pound rose as much as 0.2% to $1.3013 after a four-day run of gains last week. Gilts fell, with the 10-year yield climbing four basis points to 0.75%, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 index of stocks extended two weeks of gains.“The price action today suggests that the FX investors are fairly comfortable holding on to their pound positions, notwithstanding the lingering political uncertainty in the U.K.,” said Valentin Marinov, head of Group-of-10 strategy at Credit Agricole SA. “This could point at further pound resilience on the back of abating concerns about a no-deal Brexit and/or hopes for a Brexit deal.”Some analysts remained cautious, given a set of potential amendments on a second referendum and a customs union is being considered.“Even if there is a positive outcome for the government, then the next set of risks are the actual amendments,” said Petr Krpata, chief currency strategist at ING Bank. If the customs union motion is passed “there is a risk that the whole bill will lose the support of the hard-line Conservative Brexiteers and the deal won’t eventually have a majority. So still plenty of uncertainties.”(Adds House Speaker’s decision in second paragraph, updates prices)\--With assistance from Charlotte Ryan.To contact the reporter on this story: Anooja Debnath in London at adebnath@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at pdobson2@bloomberg.net, Anil VarmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Pages


Advertisements