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  • Three killed as Iran unrest shows no signs of subsiding

    Three killed as Iran unrest shows no signs of subsidingThree security personnel have been killed by "rioters" in Iran, the latest deaths in protests that showed no sign of subsiding Tuesday despite a wave of arrests and an internet shutdown. The deaths take to at least five the number of people confirmed to have been killed in the nationwide demonstrations that erupted on Friday against a shock decision to impose petrol price hikes. The situation on the streets remains unclear largely due to the government-imposed internet outage which has entered a third day.


  • Labour Attacks Tory Billionaires Before TV Showdown: U.K. Votes

    Labour Attacks Tory Billionaires Before TV Showdown: U.K. Votes(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are preparing for their first head-to-head election debate on Tuesday as the Labour leader seeks to reverse the prime minister’s double-digit lead in the polls.Both men tried to shift the focus onto areas they consider to be their strengths in the run up to the televised showdown. The premier wrote an open letter to Corbyn accusing him of “dither” over Brexit, while Labour said Johnson’s Tories are more committed to the billionaires who fund the party than the needs of ordinary working people.Must Read: Arms Race of Election Pledges Comes Too Late for Many in U.K.For more on the election visit ELEC.Key developments:First election debate between Johnson and Corbyn on ITV 8 p.m. YouGov will publish a snap poll after the debate ends at 9 p.m.John McDonnell, Labour economy spokesman, gives a speech in central London at 11 a.m.ICM/Reuters poll puts Conservatives on 42% (+3), Labour 32% (+1), Liberal Democrats 13% (-2), Brexit Party 5% (-3).Pound gained 0.4% against the dollar on Monday and reached a six-month high against the EuroOne Million Brexit Coins to Be Destroyed (9:45 a.m.)The Royal Mint will have to destroy about a million 50-pence coins minted to celebrate the U.K.’s departure from the European Union and bearing the Oct. 31 date promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.Their destruction was revealed by Bloomberg last month after Johnson requested an extension to Brexit until Jan. 31. A spokeswoman for the mint confirmed on Tuesday that around a million will be melted down.She wouldn’t comment on the cost of the production and destruction of the coins -- but the price will ultimately be borne by tax payers.Fox Hunting Won’t Be in Tory Manifesto (9:25 a.m.)The Conservative Party will steer clear of fox hunting in its manifesto -- an issue which tripped up former Prime Minister Theresa May in the 2017 election.In his media round on Tuesday, Justice Minister Robert Buckland told Sky News the debate about animal welfare had moved on to other areas, including trophy hunting and puppy breeding. “I would be very surprised if we start returning to those old debates,” he said.May was forced to abandon her pledge to give MPs a free vote on whether to repeal anti-hunting legislation after she unexpectedly lost her parliamentary majority. Labour banned fox hunting when they were last in government, and has pledged to do more to enforce existing rules.Green Party Could Prop Up Corbyn (8:50 a.m.)The Green Party hinted it would support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the event of a hung Parliament, reflecting the split between the anti-Conservative parties over how to proceed if there’s no majority after the Dec. 12 election.After Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said on Monday that Corbyn is unfit to be prime minister, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley urged MPs to “put aside tribalism.”In a Bloomberg TV interview, Bartley said the Greens could support a minority Labour government via a so-called confidence and supply agreement -- as long as Corbyn backs remaining in the European Union, recognizes the climate emergency and promises to seek reform of the voting system.The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party have an agreement not to hinder each other in about 60 seats to try to ensure a pro-EU candidate is elected to Parliament in those districts.Labour to Tackle ‘Grotesque Inequality’ (8:30 a.m.)John McDonnell said a Labour government would be committed to tackling tax evasion and “grotesque inequality” and criticized the Conservative government for introducing what he called tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest in society.Asked in a BBC radio interview if he agreed with Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who said last month there should be no billionaires in the U.K., McDonnell declined to criticize billionaires directly but said Labour was focused on ensuring “everyone has a decent quality of life.”“We need to tackle the grotesque levels of inequality that we’ve got, and that’s the main thrust of Labour going into government,” he said. “A fair taxation system, make sure we can fund our public services, make sure actually that everyone pays their taxes as well.”McDonnell also declined to say what a Labour government would do about student debt that’s already been accrued if the party scraps university tuition fees, saying only that the current system is failing and the issue will be faced by any party that takes power.Earlier:Arms Race of Election Pledges Comes Too Late for Many in U.K.Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Business Agonizes Over Election ChoiceLeaders on the Attack Before TV Showdown: U.K. Campaign TrailTo contact the reporters on this story: Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.net;Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@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.


  • US extends license for businesses to work with Huawei by 90 days

    US extends license for businesses to work with Huawei by 90 daysThe United States on Monday granted another 90 days for companies to cease doing business with China's telecoms giant Huawei, saying the move would allow service providers to continue to offer coverage in rural areas. President Donald Trump in May effectively barred Huawei from American communications networks after Washington found the company had violated US sanctions on Iran and attempted to block a subsequent investigation. Huawei said Monday the decision did nothing to alter the company's view that Washington has treated it unfairly and called on the Trump administration to remove Huawei from a foreign technology blacklist.


  • Russia repatriates 32 children of IS members from Iraq

    Russia repatriates 32 children of IS members from IraqRussia says it has repatriated another 32 children of members of the Islamic State group from Iraq. Russia’s state TV on Tuesday showed footage of the children arriving at Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow. It said the children aged between one and nine will undergo extensive medical check-ups before relatives take them home.


  • Donald Trump has dragged America's global reputation to an all-time low

    Donald Trump has dragged America's global reputation to an all-time lowThe president’s disdain for democracy, adulation for autocrats and contempt for the global rules-based order poses a unique peril. Ditching Trump in 2020 would be a gift to the world * Help us cover the critical issues of 2020. Make a contribution‘It is hard to overstate how badly Trump has hurt America’s worldwide reputation.’ Illustration: Francisco Navas/Guardian DesignEuropeans, if they can bear to watch, are observing US politics with a mixture of fascination and horror – and it’s all down to Donald Trump. Each week seems to bring another democracy-shattering rumpus, scandalous revelation or shocking tweet. The depth and evident bitterness of America’s public divisions are unsettling for friends and allies who count on dependable US leadership.It is hard to overstate how badly Trump has hurt America’s worldwide reputation. US presidents have been internationally unpopular before – George W Bush over Iraq, for example, or LBJ over Vietnam. But Trump has sunk to an all-time low.appealOpinion surveys reveal the negative impact on US global standing. A 25-nation Pew survey last year found, overall, that 70% of respondents had no confidence in Trump’s leadership. While a majority still held a favourable view of the US, unfavourable views were up sharply from the Obama era. About 70% said the US under Trump did not take sufficient account of the interests of other countries and was doing less to address international problems.Trump won’t be around forever. But this collapse in trust may have lasting, long-term implications for transatlantic ties. A survey of 60,000 people in 14 EU member states published this fall by the European Council on Foreign Relations found most Europeans “no longer believe the US can serve as a guarantor of their security”. Europe and America risk drifting even further apart in 2020.Not all this angst can be laid at Trump’s door. But his personal hostility to the EU and individual European leaders, his denigration of Nato, his bypassing of his own intelligence agencies and state department, his collaboration with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and his willingness to betray staunch allies such as Syria’s Kurds are undoubtedly stoking fears about US reliability in security matters. Trump’s hope of scoring a big pre-election foreign policy “success” adds to the general nervousness.Some of these fears are structural. Europeans, including Britons, are alarmed by Trump’s disdain for the UN and other multilateral decision-making bodies, and his readiness to ignore international treaties. His go-it-alone chauvinism weakens US leverage. It also shows ingrained disrespect for the global rules-based order that has sustained western liberal democracy in the postwar era.Trump’s admiration for authoritarian regimes and “strongman” leaders such as Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, when set alongside his electoral shenanigans at home, has strengthened the view that he is no friend to democracy – at a time when democracies everywhere are under sustained attack.The US under Trump’s baleful tutelage is not only losing influence and respect. It is also, increasingly, a source of and contributor to global woes and instabilities. His unilateral, nationalistic, self-defeating approach threatens deepening trouble across the board next year.> How much longer Nato can last as a coherent force, given Trump’s relentless antipathy, is an open questionUnresolved issues around Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are one obvious 2020 flashpoint. Trump’s interventions to date have made matters worse. Now mounting anger and frustration in both countries could bring tensions to a head. In Iran’s case, such escalation may quickly draw in Saudi Arabia and Israel – and Turkey too, given Trump’s craven appeasement of Ankara after its invasion of Syria.How much longer Nato can last as a coherent force, given Trump’s relentless antipathy, is an open question. It is one Russia will be constantly testing as it expands its influence in the Middle East, builds up its conventional and nuclear forces, and intimidates neighbors such as Ukraine and the Baltic states.Another fraught 2020 issue is whether a worldwide recession can be avoided as Trump pursues his trade vendetta with China, market confidence falls and debt levels (including the projected $1tn 2020 US deficit) rise. Judging by his recent belligerence, Mike Pompeo, America’s undiplomatic chief diplomat, appears determined to trigger a new cold war with Beijing. Harsh words could easily turn to blows over Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.Yet more pressing still, in the wake of Trump’s renunciation of the Paris climate accord, is genuinely urgent action to tackle the environmental crisis engulfing the planet, evidenced most recently by record floods in Britain, lethal wildfires in California and Australia and the ongoing mass extinction of species from the Arctic to the Amazon.In short, Trump has an awful lot to answer for in 2020. America’s friends fervently hope America’s voters make America great again – by agreeing to dump Trump. Think of it as your gift to the world.


  • Iran says calm has been restored after fuel price hike unrest

    Iran says calm has been restored after fuel price hike unrestProtests in Iran triggered by petrol price hikes last week have subsided, an Iranian judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after the elite Revolutionary Guards warned of "decisive" action if anti-government protests do not cease. Social media videos posted in defiance of an Internet block showed protests continued in several cities on Monday night, however, and a heavy presence of security forces in streets. The images posted on social media could not be verified by Reuters.


  • How the U.S. Can Help Iranians and Hurt Iran’s Regime

    How the U.S. Can Help Iranians and Hurt Iran’s Regime(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The full extent of the protests that erupted across Iran over the weekend is hard to gauge, not least because the regime in Tehran has shut down internet access for most of the country. That decision suggests that the regime feels more threatened by the latest demonstrations of public anger than it did by previous protests at the end of 2017.This round was sparked by the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices, to plug a budgetary hole caused in part by U.S. sanctions. But as we’ve seen recently in Lebanon and Iraq, the mood in the streets quickly morphed from complaints about gas prices to anger at general economic hardship — and then to an anger at the Islamic Republic’s system of government.Despite the internet shutdown, videos circulated of protesters chanting slogans calling for the ouster of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In some cities, they burned his posters — a brave thing to do in a theocracy that treats dissent with maximum cruelty.Khamenei has had a bad few weeks: His name and image have been attacked in Baghdad and Beirut, as well as in his own country. He has backed the gas-price hike — with the careful caveat that he is not an expert in such matters. Characteristically, he has blamed “thugs” and foreigners for the protests and ordered a crackdown on Iranians voicing their unhappiness in the streets.No surprise there: Khamenei fingered “enemies of Iran” for the 2017 protests; in reality, they were the result of rising food prices amid a general economic downturn. Then, too, he unleashed his security forces on the protesters.President Hassan Rouhani, on the other hand, is unlikely to repeat the softer line he took on the 2017 protests, when he allowed that Iranians were right to protest. This time, since the demonstrations are the direct consequence of his decision, Rouhani is unlikely to be so charitable.Will the protests continue despite the crackdown? Again, the internet blackout makes it hard to know. Iranians will have noted the stamina shown by Iraqis and Lebanese, who have kept up their demonstrations for weeks on end. But the Islamic Republic is much more brutal than Iraq or Lebanon, and Khamenei seems determined to prevent any repeat of the 2009 Green Movement, which rattled the regime.The Trump administration will see the protests as proof that the sanctions campaign against Iran is working. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo professed solidarity with the protesters, tweeting, “The U.S. is with you.” This is unlikely to reassure any Iranians who recall President Trump’s promise in early 2018 that they would receive “great support” from the U.S. It is hard to argue with the regime’s assertion that such pronouncements are “hypocritical.”But they needn’t be. The administration can do at least two things, and quickly, to demonstrate real support for Iranians — and intensify the discomfiture of Khamenei and Rouhani. The first is to remove Iran from the list of countries that Trump ill-advisedly slapped with a visa ban in 2017. The second is to clear away the sanctions-related uncertainties over the trade of essential and live-saving drugs to Iran.Allowing Iranians to travel to the U.S. is self-evidently a good idea: The U.S. has a long, proud history of giving shelter to citizens from enemy nations. (It would not be hard to make sure that regime officials are denied access.) The resulting brain drain would weaken the Islamic Republic even as it gives the U.S. the moral high ground.Life-saving drugs and medical equipment are, technically, exempt from U.S. sanctions. But confusion over what is and isn’t allowed and difficulty with processing payments have stymied Iranian importers. The Trump administration can easily solve these problems.Doing both these things now, while the protests are raging, would make it harder for Iran’s leaders to deflect public anger by blaming the usual suspect. Small gestures, perhaps. But keeping Iran’s protesters focused on the true source of their torments can only be a good thing.To contact the author of this story: Bobby Ghosh at aghosh73@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Bobby Ghosh is a columnist and member of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board. He writes on foreign affairs, with a special focus on the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • How the U.S. Can Help Iranians and Hurt Iran’s Regime

    How the U.S. Can Help Iranians and Hurt Iran’s Regime(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The full extent of the protests that erupted across Iran over the weekend is hard to gauge, not least because the regime in Tehran has shut down internet access for most of the country. That decision suggests that the regime feels more threatened by the latest demonstrations of public anger than it did by previous protests at the end of 2017.This round was sparked by the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices, to plug a budgetary hole caused in part by U.S. sanctions. But as we’ve seen recently in Lebanon and Iraq, the mood in the streets quickly morphed from complaints about gas prices to anger at general economic hardship — and then to an anger at the Islamic Republic’s system of government.Despite the internet shutdown, videos circulated of protesters chanting slogans calling for the ouster of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In some cities, they burned his posters — a brave thing to do in a theocracy that treats dissent with maximum cruelty.Khamenei has had a bad few weeks: His name and image have been attacked in Baghdad and Beirut, as well as in his own country. He has backed the gas-price hike — with the careful caveat that he is not an expert in such matters. Characteristically, he has blamed “thugs” and foreigners for the protests and ordered a crackdown on Iranians voicing their unhappiness in the streets.No surprise there: Khamenei fingered “enemies of Iran” for the 2017 protests; in reality, they were the result of rising food prices amid a general economic downturn. Then, too, he unleashed his security forces on the protesters.President Hassan Rouhani, on the other hand, is unlikely to repeat the softer line he took on the 2017 protests, when he allowed that Iranians were right to protest. This time, since the demonstrations are the direct consequence of his decision, Rouhani is unlikely to be so charitable.Will the protests continue despite the crackdown? Again, the internet blackout makes it hard to know. Iranians will have noted the stamina shown by Iraqis and Lebanese, who have kept up their demonstrations for weeks on end. But the Islamic Republic is much more brutal than Iraq or Lebanon, and Khamenei seems determined to prevent any repeat of the 2009 Green Movement, which rattled the regime.The Trump administration will see the protests as proof that the sanctions campaign against Iran is working. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo professed solidarity with the protesters, tweeting, “The U.S. is with you.” This is unlikely to reassure any Iranians who recall President Trump’s promise in early 2018 that they would receive “great support” from the U.S. It is hard to argue with the regime’s assertion that such pronouncements are “hypocritical.”But they needn’t be. The administration can do at least two things, and quickly, to demonstrate real support for Iranians — and intensify the discomfiture of Khamenei and Rouhani. The first is to remove Iran from the list of countries that Trump ill-advisedly slapped with a visa ban in 2017. The second is to clear away the sanctions-related uncertainties over the trade of essential and live-saving drugs to Iran.Allowing Iranians to travel to the U.S. is self-evidently a good idea: The U.S. has a long, proud history of giving shelter to citizens from enemy nations. (It would not be hard to make sure that regime officials are denied access.) The resulting brain drain would weaken the Islamic Republic even as it gives the U.S. the moral high ground.Life-saving drugs and medical equipment are, technically, exempt from U.S. sanctions. But confusion over what is and isn’t allowed and difficulty with processing payments have stymied Iranian importers. The Trump administration can easily solve these problems.Doing both these things now, while the protests are raging, would make it harder for Iran’s leaders to deflect public anger by blaming the usual suspect. Small gestures, perhaps. But keeping Iran’s protesters focused on the true source of their torments can only be a good thing.To contact the author of this story: Bobby Ghosh at aghosh73@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Bobby Ghosh is a columnist and member of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board. He writes on foreign affairs, with a special focus on the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Three Iran security personnel killed by 'rioters': reports

    Three Iran security personnel killed by 'rioters': reportsThree members of the Iranian security forces have been stabbed to death by "rioters" near Tehran, the ISNA and Fars news agencies reported late Monday. The assailants wielding knives and machetes ambushed the three -- a Revolutionary Guard and two members of the Basij militia -- west of the capital, the news agencies reported. The deaths take to at least five the number of people confirmed to have been killed in violent demonstrations that erupted across Iran on Friday against a surprise petrol price hike.


  • Turkey issues warrants for 133 officers over coup links

    Turkey issues warrants for 133 officers over coup linksTurkey's state-run news agency says prosecutors have issued warrants for the detention of 133 military officers over suspected links to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric who is blamed by Ankara for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Anadolu Agency said Tuesday that 101 of the suspects were detained in simultaneous raids in 45 provinces for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen's network. The agency says 82 of the suspects targeted by the warrants are officers currently serving in the military.


  • Protesters force postponement of Lebanese parliament session

    Protesters force postponement of Lebanese parliament sessionThousands of protesters rallying against the Lebanese political elite blocked roads in central Beirut on Tuesday, preventing lawmakers from reaching the parliament and forcing the postponement of a legislative session. The protesters scuffled with riot police as they closed all roads leading to the parliament building in Beirut. The protesters are questioning the constitutionality of a parliament session in the absence of a government.


  • Leaders on the Attack Before TV Showdown: U.K. Campaign Trail

    Leaders on the Attack Before TV Showdown: U.K. Campaign Trail(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will face-off in their first election debate on Tuesday evening as the Labour leader seeks to reverse the prime minister’s double-digit lead in the polls.Both men tried to shift the focus onto areas they consider to be their strengths in the run-up to the televised showdown. The premier wrote an open letter to Corbyn accusing him of “dither” over Brexit, while Labour said Johnson’s Tories are more committed to the billionaires who fund the party than the needs of ordinary working people.Must Read: Arms Race of Election Pledges Comes Too Late for Many in U.K.For more on the election visit ELEC.Coming up:First election debate between Johnson and Corbyn on ITV 8 p.m.YouGov will publish a snap poll after the debate ends at 9 p.m.John McDonnell, Labour economy spokesman, gives a speech in central London at 10:30 a.m.Publication of a CBI industrial survey at 11 a.m.At 1 p.m. Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson visits a hospital to highlight the importance of European Union staff to the National Health Service.Polls:ICM/Reuters poll of 2,010 voters between Nov. 15-18 with changes shown from a week before: Conservatives 42% (+3), Labour 32% (+1), Lib Dems 13% (-2), Brexit Party 5% (-3). Summary of Polls: Click hereCatching Up:Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. business agonizes over election choice.A judge ruled Tuesday’s ITV debate can go-ahead without the Liberal Democrats or Scottish National Party.Corbyn’s best hope at becoming prime minister is by forming a minority government, the Financial Times reports.Johnson told business leaders a promised cut in corporation tax would be delayed.Corbyn laid out the extent of Labour’s nationalization plans in a Bloomberg TV interview.Swinson said Labour and Conservatives are moving to the extremes.Johnson told the CBI he will keep Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer if elected.The Markets:The pound gained 0.4% against the dollar on Monday and a six-month high against the Euro.Sterling has been creeping up as Johnson’s party solidifies a lead in U.K. opinion polls and was slightly higher in early trading on Tuesday.The odds of a Conservative Majority have dropped to 4/9, the shortest in the two years the market has been open, according to Betfair. That’s a 69% chance of winning an overall majority, compared to the Labour Party’s 47/1 odds.\--With assistance from Dara Doyle.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Israeli military says 4 rockets fired from Syria intercepted

    Israeli military says 4 rockets fired from Syria interceptedThe Israeli military said it intercepted four incoming rockets from Syria on Tuesday and explosions were heard shortly after that in Damascus, a week after another Israeli strike targeted a top Palestinian militant in the Syrian capital. There was no immediate official comment from Syria but the SANA state news agency reported explosions were heard near Damascus International Airport, indicating a potential Israeli retaliatory strike. The Israeli military would not comment on the explosions in Syria, but Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was convening the top military brass in Tel Aviv to discuss the latest developments.


  • HSBC Says British Pound May Soar. Or Crash

    HSBC Says British Pound May Soar. Or Crash(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.The outcome of Britain’s election next month poses a binary choice for the nation’s currency, according to the largest U.K. bank.“Nothing is priced in,” said David Bloom, global head of foreign-exchange strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc, in an interview with Bloomberg Television from Doha. “The political outcome will determine the future of the currency.”An election result that paves the way to a U.K.-European Union deal on Brexit could send the pound up to $1.45 by the end of next year. Or a no-deal Brexit could see it tumble to $1.10, from just below $1.30 now.Any resolution is good, Bloom said, either it be another referendum or a Brexit deal. Political wrangling will start to ebb away, the economy could get a fiscal boost and the Bank of England could start considering rate increases. The reverse could see recession fears flare.Among three election scenarios, a hung parliament -- where neither Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives nor opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party gets a majority -- would be the worst for the currency, Bloom said.In that case, there would be no majority of lawmakers in favor of a fresh referendum on Brexit, nor favoring any specific Brexit deal. “We could be back in the mud” and “lost in the wilderness.”While polls suggest a Conservative majority now, the voting scenarios for the Dec. 12 elections are complex, according to Bloom.“It’s still completely open -- anything can happen,” the strategist said.To contact the reporters on this story: Tracy Alloway in Abu Dhabi at talloway@bloomberg.net;Christopher Anstey in Tokyo at canstey@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at canstey@bloomberg.net, Dana El Baltaji, Shikhar BalwaniFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Sondland to U.S. Diplomat: Trump Only Cares About ‘Big Stuff’ Like the Biden Investigation

    Sondland to U.S. Diplomat: Trump Only Cares About ‘Big Stuff’ Like the Biden InvestigationChip SomodevillaU.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told State Department officials and staffers in Kyiv that President Trump didn’t “give a shit about Ukraine” and only cared about the country launching an investigation into 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. That’s according to a newly released transcript from the deposition of David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat based in Kyiv who testified before House impeachment investigators last week. During the Nov. 15, closed-door hearing, Holmes told investigators that he accompanied Sondland and two other department staffers to a restaurant in Kyiv where he asked the EU ambassador about President Trump’s thoughts on Ukraine.“In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not give a shit about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agreed that the President did not give a shit about Ukraine,” Holmes said. Holmes told House investigators he then pressed further asking, “why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated, the President only cares about, quote, unquote, ‘big stuff.’ Sondland replied that he meant, quote, unquote, ‘big stuff’ that benefits the President, like the, quote, unquote, ‘Biden investigation.’”Gordon Sondland Stepped In ‘and Things Went Really Off the Rails’For the past several weeks President Trump and other officials loyal to him have peddled the idea that the administration was attempting to correct wrongs with Ukraine policy—that it was trying to fight corruption in the country—when it dealt with the incoming administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky. But the comments from Sondland at the restaurant in Kyiv point to President Trump’s real ambition: getting President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.Sondland is set to testify Wednesday in front of lawmakers about his work on Ukraine and will likely face a slew of questions about his communications with President Trump on the issue of a Biden investigation. Holmes is set to testify Thursday. Before the lunch in Kyiv, Holmes said he attempted to join Sondland in a meeting with a top aide to Zelensky, Andriy Yermak. Holmes said he had been asked to attend that meeting and take notes but that he was told by Yermak’s assistant that “Ambassador Sondland and Mr. Yenmak had insisted that the meeting be held one-on-one with no notetaker.”Holmes told House investigators that over a bottle of red wine he, Sondland and the other State staffers talked about business plans for the ambassador’s hotel business. Soon after, Sondland took out his phone and called President Trump to brief him on the meeting with Yermak, Holmes said. Holmes said he heard the conversation between Sondland and the president transpire.Sondland told Trump Zelensky “loves your ass,” Holmes testified.“I then heard President Trump ask, quote, ‘So he's going to do the investigation?’ unquote. Ambassador Sondland replied that, ‘He's going to do it,’” Holmes recalled.Later on in the summer, Holmes said the issue of engaging the president on Ukraine became increasingly difficult. He said that he and Sondland discussed ways to “frame the importance of Ukraine in ways that would appeal to the president and to try to move forward on the scheduling of a White House visit by President Zelensky.”That meeting never took place, but Trump did meet with Zelensky on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.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.


  • 'Disgusting': Nikki Haley And George Conway Go At It On Twitter

    'Disgusting': Nikki Haley And George Conway Go At It On TwitterThe former U.N. ambassador attacks the husband of a Trump aide for calling Rep. Elise Stefanik "lying trash." Conway bites back.


  • N. Korea snubs US move to postpone military drill with South

    N. Korea snubs US move to postpone military drill with SouthNorth Korea said Tuesday it won’t consider a recent U.S. decision to postpone a joint military exercise with South Korea a major concession that can bring it back to nuclear talks. Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol said the U.S. must completely scrap that military drill and abandon its hostility against his country if it wants to see the resumption of the nuclear negotiations. Kim’s comments were the first direct response to an announcement Sunday by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his South Korean counterpart that the allies have indefinitely postponed the annual Vigilant Ace training in an “act of goodwill” toward North Korea.


  • Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?

    Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?With the launch of her new memoir, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has again ignited speculation that she may be gearing up for a possible bid for the White House, perhaps as early as 2024. “She gets credit for getting out without being too stained by the Trump administration,” said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina-based Republican strategist. Haley has been navigating her way through that balancing act since the 2016 campaign cycle, when there was initially no love lost between then-Gov.Haley and then-candidate Donald Trump.


  • China signs defence agreement with South Korea as US angers Seoul with demand for $5bn troop payment

    China signs defence agreement with South Korea as US angers Seoul with demand for $5bn troop paymentThe defence ministers of South Korea and China have agreed to develop their security ties to ensure stability in north-east Asia, the latest indication that Washington’s long-standing alliances in the region are fraying.  On the sidelines of regional security talks in Bangkok on Sunday, Jeong Kyeong-doo, the South Korean minister of defence, and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, agreed to set up more military hotlines and to push ahead with a visit by Mr Jeong to China next year to “foster bilateral exchanges and cooperation in defence”, South Korea’s defence ministry said.   Seoul’s announcement coincided with growing resentment at the $5 billion (£3.9bn) annual fee that Washington is demanding to keep 28,500 US troops in South Korea. That figure is a sharp increase from the $923 million that Seoul paid this year, which was an 8 per cent increase on the previous year.  Seoul's decision to terminate the intelligence sharing pact with Japan risks sending the "wrong message", said General Robert B. Abrams, commander of United States Forces Korea Credit: STAFF SGT. MARCUS BUTLER/UNITED STATES FORCES KOREA/AFP via Getty Images An editorial in Monday’s edition of The Korea Times warned that the security alliance between the two countries “may fall apart due to Washington’s blatantly excessive demands”.  Mr Trump has previously threatened to withdraw US troops if his demands are not met, with the editorial accusing the president of regarding the Korea-US mutual defence treaty “as a property deal to make money”. The vast majority of Koreans agree, with a recent survey by the Korea Institute for National Reunification showing that 96 per cent of people are opposed to Seoul paying more for the US military presence.  There is also irritation at the pressure that Washington is applying to the South to make Seoul sign an extension to a three-way agreement on sharing military information with the US and Japan. The General Security of Military Information Agreement is due to expire at midnight on November 23 and South Korea insists that it will only agree to an extension if Japan cancels restrictions on exports of chemicals critical to the South’s microchip industry.  Japan is widely believed to have imposed the restrictions as the latest incident in its troubled relationship with South Korea, which includes the issue of compensation for labourers put to work during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.  US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, left, and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, hold a joint press conference Credit: Jung Yeon-je/Pool Photo via AP The two nations' defence ministers held discussions with Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, at the weekend but hopes that a breakthrough might materialise came to nothing. Just days before an agreement designed to protect the allies from North Korean belligerence runs out, Tokyo and Seoul merely reiterated their long-held positions.  The US demanded in July that Japan pay $8 billion a year to keep 54,000 US military personnel in the country, Foreign Policy reported late last week. Tokyo currently contributes $2 billion a year to US military costs in Japan. “This kind of demand, not only the exorbitant number, but the way it is being done, could trigger anti-Americanism”, Bruce Klinger, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation think tank, told Foreign Policy.  “If you weaken alliances, and potentially decrease deterrence and US troop presence, that benefits North Korea, China and Russia, who see the potential for reduced US influence and support for our allies”.  Daniel Pinkston, a professor of international relations at the Seoul campus of Troy University, was more blunt in his assessment.  “It’s just extortion”, he told The Telegraph. “It’s little more than a mob boss going around and demanding protection money. The numbers that the US is demanding are politically impossible for Seoul and Tokyo to swallow and that is just fuelling resentment."


  • US ends sanction waivers for Iran's Fordow nuclear plant

    US ends sanction waivers for Iran's Fordow nuclear plantThe United States announced Monday it would halt sanctions waivers for Iran's Fordow plant, likely ending a key component of a landmark nuclear deal after Tehran said it had resumed enrichment activities. Piling pressure as protests hit Iran, the move is intended to discourage work led by Russia's state-owned nuclear company Rosatom at the once-secret site, which was supposed to be transformed into a civilian research center under the 2015 agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's announcement of renewed activity at Fordow -- one of a series of steps taken by Tehran as it presses Europeans to make good on sanctions relief promised for compliance.


  • Iran exceeds authorised heavy water reserves: IAEA

    Iran exceeds authorised heavy water reserves: IAEAThe UN's nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran's stock of heavy water for reactors has surpassed the limit set under its agreement with world powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that Iran's heavy water production plant was in operation and that its stock of heavy water reserves was 131.5 tonnes, above the 130-tonne limit.


  • 'No one needs to be a billionaire', Britain's Labour Party says

    'No one needs to be a billionaire', Britain's Labour Party saysBritain's opposition Labour Party will on Tuesday take aim at "obscene" billionaires, pledging a radical redistribution of wealth to cut the power of the super rich who it says bankroll Prime Minister Boris Johnson in return for tax breaks. The Conservatives are promising to deliver Brexit while Labour says it wants to be the most radical socialist government in British history. Labour said almost a third of Britain’s 151 billionaires have donated more than 50 million pounds ($64.8 million) to the Conservatives since 2005 in return for tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations worth 100 billion pounds.


  • Washington silent as US-crafted regime under fire in Iraq

    Washington silent as US-crafted regime under fire in IraqThe US posted tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, huddled with its leaders and helped craft its laws -- but with the country swamped by deadly protests, Washington is staying out of the fray. Its apparent absence during a key turning point in Iraq lays bare how much its interests and influence have waned since the 2003 US-led invasion that opened the door to fellow Shiite-majority neighbour Iran. "The (US-Iraq) gulf has never been so big, and keeps getting bigger," a senior Iraqi official told AFP on condition of anonymity.


  • Attorney: Ex-Marine held by Iran seeks victim’s fund payment

    Attorney: Ex-Marine held by Iran seeks victim’s fund paymentA former Marine who was imprisoned by Iran on suspicion of spying is seeking payment from a fund intended for victims of state-sponsored terrorism. Attorney Scott Gilbert says he filed the lawsuit Monday in federal claims court on behalf of Amir Hekmati. A federal judge ruled in 2017 that Iran must pay Hekmati $63.5 million.


  • US ends sanction waivers for Iran's Fordow nuclear plant

    US ends sanction waivers for Iran's Fordow nuclear plantThe United States announced Monday it would halt sanctions waivers for Iran's Fordow plant, ending a key part of a landmark nuclear deal after Tehran said it had resumed enrichment activities. The move is intended to end Russian and European cooperation with Iran on the once-secret site, which was supposed to become a civilian research center under the 2015 agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's announcement of renewed activity at Fordow -- a series of steps taken by Tehran as it presses European allies to make good on sanctions relief promised for compliance.


  • How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout

    How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The latest unrest in Iran is about something far more serious than rising gasoline prices. The proof is that, over the weekend, the regime took most of the country offline.NetBlocks, a nongovernmental organization that monitors digital rights, says that by Saturday, Iran’s internet connectivity was 5% of what it was earlier in the week. The clampdown began on Friday, coinciding with demonstrations and protests throughout Iran, with intermittent outages in major cities such as Tehran and Shiraz. By Saturday, the group said, it had “proceeded to a disconnection of all mobile networks followed by a near-total national internet and telecommunication blackout.” And yet the images from inside the country have kept coming. In the past few days, the rest of the world has been able to see videos from inside the country showing mass demonstrations and at times violent crackdowns from security services. “I keep getting these videos,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who began the anti-hijab protests and is now based in Brooklyn. Anticipating the regime’s actions, many Iranians have developed a kind of digital resilience. They take advantage of networks that remain online and at times connect to the internet through satellites or service providers in neighboring countries.In some cases, Iranians are also taking advantage of the country’s two-tiered approach to internet access. Despite the near national blackout, regime and university networks have remained online. “The government people have internet,” says Mariam Memarsadeghi, co-founder of Tavaana, a web platform that works to build civil society inside of Iran. “There are good reasons to think the friends and families of people who have government connections will use them to get the word out.”Abdullah Mohtadi, the secretary general of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, says Kurdish activists use Iraqi SIM cards to gain access to the Internet. The participation of the Kurds in the national protests this time also marks a change. Kurdish Iranians have protested the regime for decades, but their protests are often against the regime’s treatment of the Kurdish minority. This time, he says, Iranian Kurdish parties are coordinating their activism with the national movement.But Alp Toker, the director of NetBlocks, warns that there is no reliable way to circumvent the regime’s restrictions. Roaming SIM cards can be cut off, he points out, while satellite internet is expensive and slow. At the same time, some apparent connections may actually be operated by the government as a ruse — tricking users into thinking their communications are safe.The U.S. government, meanwhile, is doing what it can. It has helped fund organizations such as Memarsadaghi’s, for example. It has worked to help Iranians get access to equipment that would make it easier to get online through satellite connections instead of the on-the-ground internet service providers controlled by the regime. One U.S. official tells me that the State Department has asked some of the big social media companies to suspend the accounts of Iranian regime leaders and entities as long as Iranian citizens are kept offline. Alinejad herself has called on Twitter to shut down the personal accounts of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.But banning Khamenei’s account, and those of other regime figures, is the least that Facebook and Twitter should do. It’s in their interest to develop easy-to-use technologies to circumvent internet bans such as Iran’s; Iranians use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Telegram like anyone else.More important, the digital resilience of Iran’s freedom movement is a U.S. national security issue. It’s too soon to say whether these latest convulsions will topple a regime that has made war throughout the Middle East. But it’s clear that online activism was enough of a threat to Khamenei and his deputies that he tried to turn the internet off. The rest of the world should be grateful that so many Iranians have found ways to defy his orders.To contact the author of this story: Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout

    How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The latest unrest in Iran is about something far more serious than rising gasoline prices. The proof is that, over the weekend, the regime took most of the country offline.NetBlocks, a nongovernmental organization that monitors digital rights, says that by Saturday, Iran’s internet connectivity was 5% of what it was earlier in the week. The clampdown began on Friday, coinciding with demonstrations and protests throughout Iran, with intermittent outages in major cities such as Tehran and Shiraz. By Saturday, the group said, it had “proceeded to a disconnection of all mobile networks followed by a near-total national internet and telecommunication blackout.” And yet the images from inside the country have kept coming. In the past few days, the rest of the world has been able to see videos from inside the country showing mass demonstrations and at times violent crackdowns from security services. “I keep getting these videos,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who began the anti-hijab protests and is now based in Brooklyn. Anticipating the regime’s actions, many Iranians have developed a kind of digital resilience. They take advantage of networks that remain online and at times connect to the internet through satellites or service providers in neighboring countries.In some cases, Iranians are also taking advantage of the country’s two-tiered approach to internet access. Despite the near national blackout, regime and university networks have remained online. “The government people have internet,” says Mariam Memarsadeghi, co-founder of Tavaana, a web platform that works to build civil society inside of Iran. “There are good reasons to think the friends and families of people who have government connections will use them to get the word out.”Abdullah Mohtadi, the secretary general of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, says Kurdish activists use Iraqi SIM cards to gain access to the Internet. The participation of the Kurds in the national protests this time also marks a change. Kurdish Iranians have protested the regime for decades, but their protests are often against the regime’s treatment of the Kurdish minority. This time, he says, Iranian Kurdish parties are coordinating their activism with the national movement.But Alp Toker, the director of NetBlocks, warns that there is no reliable way to circumvent the regime’s restrictions. Roaming SIM cards can be cut off, he points out, while satellite internet is expensive and slow. At the same time, some apparent connections may actually be operated by the government as a ruse — tricking users into thinking their communications are safe.The U.S. government, meanwhile, is doing what it can. It has helped fund organizations such as Memarsadaghi’s, for example. It has worked to help Iranians get access to equipment that would make it easier to get online through satellite connections instead of the on-the-ground internet service providers controlled by the regime. One U.S. official tells me that the State Department has asked some of the big social media companies to suspend the accounts of Iranian regime leaders and entities as long as Iranian citizens are kept offline. Alinejad herself has called on Twitter to shut down the personal accounts of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.But banning Khamenei’s account, and those of other regime figures, is the least that Facebook and Twitter should do. It’s in their interest to develop easy-to-use technologies to circumvent internet bans such as Iran’s; Iranians use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Telegram like anyone else.More important, the digital resilience of Iran’s freedom movement is a U.S. national security issue. It’s too soon to say whether these latest convulsions will topple a regime that has made war throughout the Middle East. But it’s clear that online activism was enough of a threat to Khamenei and his deputies that he tried to turn the internet off. The rest of the world should be grateful that so many Iranians have found ways to defy his orders.To contact the author of this story: Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • North Korea uninterested in 'useless' Trump meetings after president's tweet

    North Korea uninterested in 'useless' Trump meetings after president's tweetThe leader of North Korea is not interested in another meeting with Donald Trump, even though the American recently signalled they would be coming together soon.That’s according to a statement from North Korean Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan, who told the state news agency that Mr Trump’s Sunday night tweet saying “See you soon!” was not expressing a mutual desire.


  • McConnell Urges Trump to Speak Out on Protests: Hong Kong Update

    McConnell Urges Trump to Speak Out on Protests: Hong Kong Update(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam urged protesters holed up in a university to heed police calls to surrender, as tens of thousands of protesters marched to support the trapped demonstrators.Police and protesters clashed around Hong Kong Polytechnic University for much of the day, leading to multiple arrests and injuries. Running battles have occurred, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who threw bricks and Molotov cocktails.Demonstrations seeking greater democracy in the Beijing-controlled territory have become increasingly violent in recent weeks, with protesters vandalizing transportation networks and China-friendly businesses as they push for demands including an independent probe into police violence and the ability to nominate and elect city leaders.Key Developments:Lam decries violence near universityTens of thousands march to rescue campus demonstratorsOfficial says chaos putting Sunday’s election at riskMediators try to persuade protesters to leave campus peacefullyHere’s the latest:McConnell Urges Trump to Speak Out on Protests (5:09 a.m.)U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged President Donald Trump to speak out on behalf of the protesters in Hong Kong.“The world should hear from him directly that the United States stands with these brave women and men,” McConnell said Monday afternoon on the Senate floor.McConnell said Trump should make Hong Kong’s autonomy a focus of America’s bilateral engagement with China, not just trade. The Republican leader’s comments come as the Senate moves to expedited passage of legislation this week which would place Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S. under annual review.Pompeo calls on Lam to allow independent probe (4:06 a.m.)Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. is “gravely concerned” about rising violence in Hong Kong and called on Lam to allow an independent probe of protest incidents.Speaking to reporters in Washington on Monday afternoon, Pompeo said violence by any side in the dispute is “unacceptable,” but he singled out Hong Kong’s government as having a primary responsibility to keep events peaceful.Pompeo’s comments followed an earlier White House statement calling on Beijing to “honor its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system, and democratic way of life.”Tsang, school principals try to coax out protesters (11:54 p.m.)Former Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang and law professor Eric Cheung tried to persuade protesters to leave the campus peacefully, pledging to accompany them to police stations to ensure they won’t be treated violently. “If there’s tear gas, I will get it first,” Tsang said.Separately, some 20 secondary school principals arrived at the campus to escort students off the premises as clashes continued between demonstrators and police in the nearby area. An estimated 150 secondary school students are stuck, with some suffering injuries, Li Kin-man, one of the principals told reporters. Police have promised to let those under 18 years old leave after recording their identity, he said.Thousands reinforce trapped campus demonstrators (9:55 p.m.)Tens of thousands of protesters heeded calls to reinforce and save the demonstrators trapped in the PolyU campus, using umbrellas to battle back tear gas and water cannons in nearby Tsim Sha Tsui.Police fired tear gas at high points of the campus buildings after a number of protesters tried to escape by abseiling out, according to Radio Television Hong Kong.U.K. government ‘seriously concerned’ (8:45 p.m.)The U.K., which handed Hong Kong over to Chinese rule in 1997, said it was “seriously concerned” by the escalating violence from both protesters and authorities around university campuses in the city.“It is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment, and that safe passage is made available for all those who wish to leave the area. We need to see an end to the violence, and for all sides to engage in meaningful political dialogue ahead of the District Council elections on Sunday,” according to a statement attributed to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson.Officials warn public to steer clear of PolyU (6:20 p.m.)Top Hong Kong officials urged the public not to approach or reinforce the PolyU campus amid calls for rallies near the university. Security Secretary John Lee urged those remaining at the campus to surrender to police in an orderly and peaceful manner. He condemned the use of weapons by protesters, including remote-controlled bombs, catapults and petrol bombs.As the standoff ground on, Matthew Cheung, the city’s No. 2 official, vowed that the government was determined to tackle “deep-seated problems” and that ending violence remained its top priority.Violence putting election at risk (5:36 p.m.)The escalating violence in recent days has “reduced the chance of holding” citywide District Council elections as scheduled Sunday, Patrick Nip, secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, told reporters Monday. Nip said staff at polling stations and candidates must feel safe on election day and that people need to be able to get to the polls without disruption.“Postponing would be a difficult decision,” Nip said, adding that the government wouldn’t take such a step “unless absolutely necessary.”Lam decries PolyU violence (5:18 p.m.)Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, decried the chaos around PolyU in a Facebook post Monday, blaming “rioters” for continuing “to escalate the level of violence.” “Police have repeatedly made appeals and people in PolyU campus should listen,” she said.Protesters call for rallies (5:14 p.m.)Protesters have called for rallies from 7 p.m. in Tsim Sha Tsui, a location near the university, to support those who are stuck in PolyU.City’s No. 2 to meet media (5:11 p.m.)Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung and Secretary for Security John Lee will meet the media at 6 p.m. local time at the government headquarters, according to a statement.Police tell university protesters to surrender (4:23 p.m.)Protesters inside PolyU should stop their violence immediately and surrender as the situation is getting “risky,” Cheuk Hau-yip, regional commander of Kowloon West, told reporters at a briefing on Monday. He said all protesters leaving the university would be arrested for participation in a riot.Police are most concerned about fires being lit as “rioters” charge at them outside PolyU, he said, without giving an estimate on how many protesters are still there. He also said police arrested a group of demonstrators who claimed to be volunteer first aid workers and journalists.Police said they allowed Red Cross volunteers into the PolyU campus around 2 p.m. to offer medical assistance to those injured. Some of them were brought to the hospital, according to a statement on Facebook.About 600 still trapped, SCMP reports (4:07 p.m.)About 600 people are still trapped on the PolyU campus, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Derek Liu Kin-kwan, president of the university’s student union.Clashes as protesters flee university (2:05 p.m.)Police fired tear gas and made arrests as dozens of black-clad protesters ran to escape Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which is under siege by officers. Television images showed police wrestling some protesters to the ground, and at times beating them with batons, while others climbed down trees next to an overpass to avoid arrest.It was unclear how many protesters remained in the university. Several police appeared to point guns at protesters, but there were no indications that anyone was shot.Schools to remain closed (1:30 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Education Bureau said schools will remain closed Tuesday “since there are still unstable factors affecting the roads and traffic conditions and more time should be given for schools to make good preparation for class resumption.” Schools have been suspended since last Thursday on safety concerns. Some primary and secondary schools are expected to resume classes Wednesday, while kindergartens, schools for children with physical disability or intellectual disability will remain closed till Sunday.Mask ban found unconstitutional (1 p.m.)A Hong Kong court ruled that the mask ban imposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government was incompatible with the Basic Law, the mini-constitution that governs the financial hub. The High Court ruled that the ban, which has been widely ignored by protesters, went further in curbing people’s fundamental rights than the situation warranted.Hong Kong’s government had invoked a colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance to pass the prohibition on face-coverings, angering protesters and igniting fresh protests. Recent protests have seen thousands of people wearing masks in contravention of the law, and many have been arrested for violating it.Protesters gather once again in Central (12:45 p.m.)Protesters, including many professionals and office workers, have started gathering and blocking roads in Hong Kong’s Central financial district. Last week, there were five-straight days of lunch time protests in the heart of Asia’s key financial hub, with many white-collar workers hitting the streets to chant protest slogans. Police fired numerous tear gas volleys in the area last week, sending bystanders and office workers running for cover past the area’s luxury retail outlets.Goldman Sachs cancels anniversary event (12:30 p.m.)Goldman Sachs Groups Inc. is postponing a Hong Kong event to mark the firm’s 150th anniversary. The celebration was scheduled to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, but was delayed because of ongoing protests, according to an email the bank sent to attendees.Police urge protesters to drop weapons (11:46 a.m.)In a series of Twitter posts, Hong Kong’s police force urged protesters to drop their weapons, remove their gas masks and leave PolyU in an “orderly manner” without making any menacing moves toward officers. A large group of “masked rioters” armed with petrol bombs charged at police cordons around 8 a.m., police said.Carrie Lam visits officer in hospital (11:30 a.m.)Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam visited an injured police officer at the city’s Kwong Wah Hospital, according to the South China Morning Post, which tweeted a video of her emerging from a hospital building. She declined to take any questions.Protests block roads in Kowloon (11:10 a.m.)Small groups of protesters blocked roads in the Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui areas, not far from the standoff at PolyU. Activists had issued calls on social media for demonstrators to come out to the Kowloon area, as well as Central, to support protesters still at the university. So far, there were no significant crowds in Central.Military defends clean-up effort (10:35 a.m.)A spokesman for China’s military defended the decision by the local People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong to come out into the streets Saturday and help clean up from last week’s protests. The soldiers “joined the citizens in clearing these road blocks and their efforts were welcomed by the Hong Kong citizens,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian told a briefing Monday on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Bangkok.“Ending violence and restoring order is the most pressing task we have in Hong Kong,” Wu said, citing a similar statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.Dozens of protesters detained (9 a.m.)Police detained dozens of protesters in Tsim Sha Tsui East, near the PolyU campus, where clashes have been the most intense in recent hours. At least 30 could been seen on television feeds sitting on the ground with their hands restrained. It was unclear how many protesters and students were still on campus.\--With assistance from Stanley James, Linus Chua, Sebastian Tong, Shelly Banjo, Glen Carey, Fion Li, Shawna Kwan, Karen Leigh and Laura Litvan.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Annie Lee in Hong Kong at olee42@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Chris Kay, Bill FariesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • UN envoy: Libya peace possible if outside interference ends

    UN envoy: Libya peace possible if outside interference endsAn agreement between Libya’s warring parties to end their conflict is possible, but only if all Libyans reject outside interference, the U.N. envoy for the oil-rich North African nation said Monday. Ghassan Salame told the Security Council that preparations for an international summit in Berlin are underway and that a “crucial” meeting of senior officials Wednesday aims to reach agreement on an outline of actions needed to end the conflict. A civil war in Libya in 2011 toppled Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.


  • UPDATE 2-U.S. to no longer waive sanctions on Iranian nuclear site

    UPDATE 2-U.S. to no longer waive sanctions on Iranian nuclear siteThe United States said on Monday it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran's Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. "The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world's largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters. The U.N. atomic watchdog and Iran itself said this month Tehran is again enriching uranium at the sensitive site, which Iran hid from U.N. non-proliferation inspectors until its exposure in 2009.


  • US cancels civil nuclear cooperation waiver for Iran

    US cancels civil nuclear cooperation waiver for IranSecretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he is canceling one of four sanctions waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work with Iran's civilian nuclear program without U.S. penalties. Pompeo also warned Iran’s leadership not to crack down on protests that recent fuel price increases have sparked. The waivers are among the last remaining components of the 2015 nuclear deal the Trump administration withdrew from last year.


  • U.S. to end sanctions waiver related to Iran's Fordow nuclear site -Pompeo

    U.S. to end sanctions waiver related to Iran's Fordow nuclear site -PompeoSecretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the United States is terminating the sanctions wavier related to Iran's Fordow nuclear plant, adding that it is closely monitoring ongoing protests in Iran and is deeply concerned by reports of several fatalities. "The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world's largest state sponsor of terror is zero...There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site," Pompeo said at a press briefing about the Fordow site, where the U.N. atomic watchdog says the country has been enriching uranium.


  • UN envoy slams foreign interference, air strikes in Libya

    UN envoy slams foreign interference, air strikes in LibyaThe UN's Libya envoy pleaded with foreign actors to honor an arms embargo on the conflict-torn country as he said an attack on a Tripoli factory Monday may amount to a war crime. Ghassan Salame accused unnamed countries of worsening the violence in Libya in a strongly worded address via video link to the United Nations Security Council in New York. Salame called for external actors to adhere to a UN arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011.


  • US angers Palestinians with reversal on Israeli settlements

    US angers Palestinians with reversal on Israeli settlementsThe Trump administration on Monday said it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law, reversing four decades of American policy and further undermining the Palestinians’ effort to gain statehood. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. is repudiating the 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.” Israeli leaders welcomed the decision while Palestinians and other nations warned that it undercut any chance of a broader peace deal. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department that the Trump administration believes any legal questions about settlements should be resolved by Israeli courts and that declaring them a violation of international law distracts from larger efforts to negotiate a peace deal.


  • UN expert: 100,000 kids in migration-related detention in US

    UN expert: 100,000 kids in migration-related detention in USAn independent expert working with the U.N. human rights office estimates that over 100,000 children are being held in migration-related detention in the United States. Human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak said Monday the U.S. is holding “far more” than are other countries for which he has reliable figures. Nowak said country-specific figures for the U.N. Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, a version of which was released in July, will be published Tuesday.


  • Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Business Agonizes Over Election Choice

    Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Business Agonizes Over Election Choice(Bloomberg) -- Caught between a Brexit they don’t want and a firebrand socialist they fear, business executives were not impressed after the leading candidates in Britain’s upcoming general election tried to win their support.Speeches by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to resonate with attendees at the Confederation of British Industry’s conference in London on Monday.“These guys should be hanging their heads in shame for the last three years of nonsense that’s gone on,” said Phil Smith, non-executive chairman of IQE Plc, a maker of semi-conductor products. “If that was in business, most of them would be gone by now.”Smith’s comments captured the mood of executives as they poked holes in Johnson’s Brexit plan while warning against Corbyn’s economic policies, which include nationalizing large swathes of industry. Delegates were divided over which posed a greater threat to Britain: pursuing a hard break from its largest trading partner, the European Union, or embracing a socialist agenda.Brexit ParalysisThe U.K. is heading for its third election in 4 1/2 years on Dec. 12 after Johnson failed to get Parliament to ratify his Brexit deal, and was unable to deliver on his promise to leave the European Union by Oct. 31. Business leaders complain that three years of political paralysis have stalled investment since the Brexit referendum vote in 2016.When the alternative is a Corbyn-led government, Johnson may not need to try too hard to persuade businesses to embrace the Tories. At the CBI on Monday, the premier rowed back on a plan to cut corporation tax from 19% to 17% in 2020, saying the government could save money and spend more on voters’ priorities like the National Health Service.For his part, Corbyn confirmed in a Bloomberg television interview that Labour would nationalize the railways, water companies, the electricity grid and Royal Mail Plc, following up on his pledge to take ownership of broadband infrastructure.Boris Johnson Cancels 2020 Tax Cut for Businesses: U.K. VotesTrade FearsRegarding Brexit, CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn reiterated her concern that there is not enough time for the U.K. to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU before a transitional bridging period runs out at the end of 2020.With that in mind, she called on Johnson to extend the transition period in order to avoid Britain being forced to trade with the bloc on damaging World Trade Organization terms. Johnson rejected her plea.“You can’t do a trade deal of any value in that period,” said Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, echoing Fairbairn’s view. “There’s not enough time.”None of the 16 business leaders interviewed by Bloomberg News at the conference gushed about any one candidate but when asked to choose, a few offered a clear view.Nicola Stopps, chief executive officer of corporate social responsibility consultants Simply Sustainable, said she plans to support the Tories in the election even though she voted to remain in the EU, because Johnson has pledged to pull the U.K. out of the bloc quickly.Going UnderBrexit uncertainty is significantly affecting her business advising big firms, and it may force the company to go under, Stopps said. “We have very large clients who are postponing projects,” she said.‘Get Brexit Done’ Rings Hollow for Baffled British BusinessesRichard Clarke, commercial director of O’Donovan Waste Disposals, a London-based construction and demolition waste company with 200 employees, echoed Stopps’s view. Clarke said the Conservatives are more pro-enterprise and he disagreed with Labour’s policy of holding another Brexit referendum.“Corbyn is definitely worse,” he said. “And we need to heal the social divisions of Brexit.”The pro-EU Liberal Democrats struggled to resonate at the conference, even though many executives were sympathetic with the party’s mission to stop. While leader Jo Swinson declared them to be “the natural party of business,” few executives saw them as likely to win many seats.To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, Tim RossFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Chile's president condemns police violence after four weeks of unrest

    Chile's president condemns police violence after four weeks of unrestPresident Sebastian Pinera condemned on Sunday for the first time what he called abuses committed by police in dealing with four weeks of violent unrest that have rocked Chile. Furious Chileans have been protesting social and economic inequality, and against an entrenched political elite that comes from a small number of the wealthiest families in the country, among other issues. Accusations of police brutality and human rights violations have been levelled since the protests broke out, prompting the United Nations to send a team to investigate.


  • Iran 'calmer' despite more riots over oil price hikes

    Iran 'calmer' despite more riots over oil price hikesIran said it still faced riots even though the situation was "calmer" Monday after days of violent protests sparked by a shock decision to hike petrol prices in the sanctions-hit country. Officials have confirmed the deaths of two people -- a civilian and a policeman -- although the toll could be as high as eight, according to unofficial reports published by various Iranian news agencies. Its commander Brigadier General Gholamreza Soleimani accused Iran's arch-enemy the United States of instigating the unrest and said "America's plot failed", according to semi-official news agency ISNA.


  • More than 100,000 children in migration-related US detention: UN

    More than 100,000 children in migration-related US detention: UNMore than 100,000 children are currently being held in migration-related detention in the United States, including those held with their parents and minors detained alone, the UN said Monday. "The total number currently detained is 103,000," said Manfred Nowak, lead author of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. Nowak told AFP the figure was a "conservative" assessment, based on the latest available official data as well as "very reliable" additional sources.


  • Hungary signs special agreement with Orthodox Jewish group

    Hungary signs special agreement with Orthodox Jewish groupThe Hungarian government has signed a special agreement with an Orthodox Jewish group, granting them a status in the country enjoyed only by a small number of churches. The accord, for example, provides the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation’s institutions, such as schools, the same financing given to similar state institutions. A controversial law introduced in 2012 by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government tied the recognition of churches to parliamentary approval, and slashed the number of officially recognized churches from around 370 to 32.


  • Libyan officials: Airstrike kills 7 workers in Tripoli

    Libyan officials: Airstrike kills 7 workers in TripoliAn airstrike slammed into a biscuit factory in Libya’s capital Monday killing at least seven workers, including five foreign nationals and two Libyans, health authorities said, in what the U.N. envoy to Libya said could be a war crime. Tripoli has been the scene of fighting since April between the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, and an array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported but weak government that holds the capital. The Tripoli-based health ministry said the airstrike took place in the capital’s Wadi el-Rabie neighborhood, south of the city center where fighting has been raging for months.


  • Boris Johnson Cancels 2020 Tax Cut for Businesses: U.K. Votes

    Boris Johnson Cancels 2020 Tax Cut for Businesses: U.K. Votes(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his Conservatives are canceling plans to cut corporation tax next April so the government can save money to spend more on voters’ priorities, including the state-funded National Health Service.The rate was due to fall to 17% from 19%, but Johnson said businesses had already gained from a succession of corporation tax cuts in recent years. He spoke to the Confederation of British Industry to try to get the focus of his general election campaign on his Conservative Party’s pro-business policies.Must Read: What Scares Business More: Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Campaign TrailKey Developments:Johnson tells CBI he will keep Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer after electionJohnson also says corporation tax cut will have to waitJeremy Corbyn tells CBI Labour would keep U.K. close to or inside the EU -- and the richest must pay more taxLiberal Democrats and SNP court case over their omission from ITV leaders’ debate on TuesdayA Survation poll for Monday’s Good Morning Britain TV show put the Tories on 42%, Labour on 28%, the Liberal Democrats on 13% and the Brexit Party on 5%Lib Dems, SNP Lose Case Over ITV Election Debate (4:30 p.m.)The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party lost their suit against broadcaster ITV over a head-to-head television debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.“The TV debate scheduled for tomorrow evening between the leaders of the Conservative party and Labour party can lawfully go ahead,” Judge Nigel Davis said in London’s High Court.The two parties argued that ITV’s decision to exclude them breached impartiality rules because an anti-Brexit perspective won’t be heard. The broadcaster had said it would cancel the debate if it lost the case.Swinson Attacks ‘Extreme’ Labour and Tories (3:30 p.m.)Jo Swinson said she would not help either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister if they come up short of a majority after the Dec. 12 election. Both Labour and the Conservatives have moved so far to extremes that she’s not even sure her party could support them with new leaders, she told Bloomberg TV.“We’re being very clear: we’re not going to support Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn,” the Liberal Democrat leader said. “Both of those parties have moved to extremes under those leaders, so it’s not at all clear that even if the leader changed the direction of travel would be any less extreme.”Swinson did leave open the possibility of working with fellow anti-Brexit MPs in the new Parliament. “What we will do is that for every Liberal Democrat MP we have is work to stop Brexit and work to pursue the other priorities we’re outlining in our plan for the future,” she said. “In the last few years, we have worked constructively with people of all different parties.”Swinson said the Liberal Democrats, if they win a majority, would abolish Business Rates and replace them with a Commercial Landowner Levy, which would be based on the value of land. The move would cut taxes for businesses in 92% of local authority areas in the U.K., the party said.Swinson Makes Lib Dem Business Pitch (2:40 p.m.)Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said her party is the “natural party of business” because it wants to keep the U.K. in the EU. Being part of one of the most successful economic blocs in the world is the best guarantee for British businesses, she said.“If you want to get Brexit done, or get Brexit sorted, you are not the party of business,” Swinson said in a speech to business leaders at the CBI conference in southeast London. “With the Conservatives in the pocket of Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn stuck in the 1970s, we are the only ones standing up for you.”“If we don’t win a majority, we will still want to stop Brexit and will continue to pursue a People’s Vote,” Swinson said when asked about the terms under which she would enter a coalition government.Corbyn Sets Out Nationalization Plans (1:27 p.m.)Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed the businesses that his Labour Party will want to take government control of if he wins power. As well as broadband infrastructure, there’s Royal Mail Plc, the operation of the railways, water companies, and the electricity grid.He also said he would be encouraging local authorities throughout the country to take control of bus services, which in most of the country outside London are run by private companies. That could affect companies including Stagecoach Group Plc, Go-Ahead Group Plc and Firstgroup Plc.“We need to integrate bus and rail services, we need to re-empower local authorities to develop bus services if they wish,” Corbyn told Bloomberg television. He insisted his plans shouldn’t scare business. “I’m not proposing massive nationalization. What I’m more interested in is a growing economy with a more skilled workforce.”He said his plan for closing the poll gap with Boris Johnson’s Conservatives was to “campaign, get our message across.”On the question of whether he’d ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to stay on, he said he’d made no commitments to anyone, but “we’ve worked very well with Mark Carney up to now.”Corbyn Insists He’s Fighting Antisemitism (12:15 p.m.)Jeremy Corbyn defended himself against charges that antisemitism has flourished within his Labour Party. Asked at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London if Labour was “for the many, not the Jew,” Corbyn replied: “I have lived my whole life as somebody who hates racism in every form whatsoever.”Corbyn Calls Out Miners Over Damage (12 p.m.)Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on commodity and oil companies to be socially responsible and consider their environmental impact.While acknowledging that many have social impact funds and support community projects, Corbyn said he is concerned by “the behavior of very big oil and mineral companies in other countries and the environmental problems” they cause. A Labour government would work with the companies to rectify issues, he said.Corbyn: Labour Isn’t Anti-Business (11:38 a.m.)Jeremy Corbyn said his opposition Labour Party isn’t anti-business. Speaking to the CBI conference, he said he wouldn’t apologize for wanting to raise taxes on the richest and for planning to take key businesses into public ownership.“It’s not anti-business to be against poverty pay,” he said. “It’s not anti-business to say the largest corporations should pay their taxes just as smaller companies do. It’s not anti-business to want prosperity in every part of our country, not only in the financial center of the City of London.”Crucially, he said Labour would keep Britain close to, or inside, the European Union.Johnson: I’ll Keep Javid as Chancellor (11:20 a.m.)Boris Johnson has confirmed that Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid will keep his job if the Conservatives win the election. “I will keep Sajid Javid as my Chancellor,” the prime minister told the CBI conference. “I think he’s a great guy, he’s doing a fantastic job and I’m proud to have him as a colleague.”Johnson Scraps Corporation Tax Cut (11:15 a.m.)Boris Johnson said he’s postponing a plan to cut corporation tax, paid by business, saving the government 6 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) to spend on priorities such as the NHS. “It is the fiscally responsible thing to do at the current time,” he told business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London.Corporation tax was due to fall to 17% from 19% next April. Canceling that puts the pre-announced Conservative Party plan to lower business taxes by around 1 billion pounds into perspective.The move will save the government money to “put into the priorities of the British people,” Johnson said. “We proudly back business across this country because we understand it is you who is creating the wealth that pays for the NHS,” he said. “And by the way, because the NHS is the nation’s priority and because we believe emphatically in fiscal prudence I hope you won’t mind that we also announce today that we are postponing further cuts in corporation tax.”Johnson Pitches Brexit Certainty to Business (10:55 a.m.)Boris Johnson made his pitch to business leaders at the confederation of British Industry conference in London: let him get Brexit out of the way, and use the ensuing certainty to help the economy grow. The prime minister said the U.K. economy “is still not achieving what it should” and had “so much more natural energy waiting to be unleashed.”He said his Brexit deal “gives business complete stability and certainty as we come out in January.” He also added a new line to his repertoire about leaving the EU, that it would make people feel better: “It’s time for us to get Brexit done because it’s the best thing for our national mood.”CBI’s Allan Criticizes Politicians’ Brexit Failings (10:30 a.m.)John Allan, president of the Confederation of British Industry, criticized political parties for failing to offer pro-business solutions to the Brexit gridlock at the general election, which he described as “kryptonite” for investment.“It’s not as simple as getting Brexit done, sorting Brexit in 6 months or stopping Brexit,” Allan said at the CBI’s annual conference in London. said, referring to the various parties’ election promises on Brexit. “Whatever happens in this election we’ll be negotiating with the EU for years to come.”Leaders to Address CBI Business Lobby (10 a.m.)Attendees at Monday’s Confederation of British Industry conference will be faced with very different economic options: A large regulatory border between the U.K. and the European Union offered by Boris Johnson, who reportedly dismissed the concerns of industry over Brexit with a four-letter epithet, or Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to nationalize key utilities if he wins power.Johnson will address the conference in London first, offering an olive branch of tax cuts worth an estimated 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) to make up for the disruption of Brexit. “Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit,” Johnson will say, according to speech extracts released in advance. “But what is also clear is that what you want now -- and have wanted for some time -- is certainty.”A very different view will be represented by Corbyn, who speaks after Johnson. Labour has already promised tax rises both for business and for the wealthy. On Friday, the party shocked industry by announcing that if it won the election, it would take the U.K.’s broadband infrastructure into public ownership.Arcuri Had ‘Very Special Relationship’ With Johnson (8 a.m.)Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman at the center of a controversy over her ties to Boris Johnson, again refused to confirm directly whether she had an affair with the prime minister during his time as London mayor.“As you can tell there was a very special relationship there,” she said in a live broadcast interview on ITV on Monday. Arcuri insisted she was not a “victim” and had entered her relationship with Johnson willingly, but said she wanted him to call her to acknowledge she’d been made “collateral damage in his quest for greatness.”In the interview, she described an occasion when she asked Johnson how many children he has. He responded by saying there were four by his second wife, and indicated another child had been born to a former lover. Johnson declined to answer in a recent broadcast interview when he was asked how many children he has.Controversy surrounding Arcuri has threatened to blight Johnson’s Dec. 12 election campaign. The Independent Office for Police Conduct agency is reviewing whether to open a criminal investigation into Johnson’s links with the U.S. technology entrepreneur during his time as mayor of London. Arcuri has acknowledged that her cyber-security business, Hacker House, benefited from joining a mayoral trade mission to Tel Aviv in November 2015.Earlier:Johnson Offers Business an Olive Branch as U.K. Election Revs UpWhat Scares Business More: Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Campaign TrailWhy U.K. Conservatives Are So Good at Winning: Tim Bale\--With assistance from Greg Ritchie, Jessica Shankleman, Robert Hutton, Anna Edwards, Guy Johnson and Ellen Milligan.To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@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.


  • North Korea hits back at Trump implying another summit

    North Korea hits back at Trump implying another summitPyongyang hit back hard in response to President Donald Trump's recent tweet suggesting another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea is no longer interested in holding a "fruitless" summit with the United States, according to a statement Foreign Ministry Adviser Kim Kye-gwan released to the state media outlet, Korean Central News Agency.


  • Saudi-led coalition says Yemeni rebels hijacked vessel

    Saudi-led coalition says Yemeni rebels hijacked vesselIran-aligned rebels have hijacked a vessel south of the Red Sea, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Monday. Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency quoted coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki as saying that Houthi rebels seized the vessel while it was towing a South Korean drilling rig the previous day. In a meeting with the South Korean ambassador to Yemen, Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadrami sharply condemned the seizure of the ship and called for its immediate release, according to a government statement.


  • Conservative Majority Looks Increasingly Likely, Bookies Say

    Conservative Majority Looks Increasingly Likely, Bookies Say(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.The odds on a Conservative Party majority were slashed to the shortest in two years.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a 69% chance of winning a majority on Dec. 12, according to gambling exchange firm Betfair. When he became Tory leader and premier back in July, it was about a 30% shot. On Monday, Ladbrokes gave Johnson the same odds of winning a majority, cutting its odds from 1/2, or 66%, over the weekend.“Political punters seemingly fancy a Tory majority at next month’s election and we’ve cut odds for the second time in as many days as a result,” said Alex Apati of Ladbrokes.Analysts and traders study bookmakers’ odds to help predict the outcome of market-moving events, though their reliability was dealt a blow in the 2016 referendum on the U.K.’s membership of the European Union.To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin at ddoyle1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Flavia Krause-JacksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • US: Egypt could face sanctions over Russia warplanes

    US: Egypt could face sanctions over Russia warplanesA senior U.S. official warned Egypt on Monday that if it purchases Russian fighter jets it risks American sanctions. R. Clarke Cooper, the State Department’s assistant secretary in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, made the comment to journalists on the sidelines of the biennial Dubai Airshow. Egypt has concluded a deal to buy Russian Su-35s jets, according to military officials in Cairo, which it says are to help combat a yearslong Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.


  • UPDATE 2-Iran exceeds heavy water limit in latest nuclear deal breach - IAEA

    UPDATE 2-Iran exceeds heavy water limit in latest nuclear deal breach - IAEAIran has breached another limit in its nuclear deal with major powers by accumulating slightly more than 130 tonnes of heavy water, a substance used in a type of reactor it is developing, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report showed on Monday. The restriction is the latest Iran has exceeded in protest at the United States for withdrawing from the deal last year and imposing punishing economic sanctions on Tehran. Washington says its "maximum pressure" will force Iran to negotiate a broader deal that will also include its role in Middle Eastern conflicts.


  • In the House impeachment drama, Russia still plays big role

    In the House impeachment drama, Russia still plays big roleAs has so often been the case since President Donald Trump took office, Moscow provides the mood music for the unfolding political drama. “With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last week, and not for the first time. The impeachment investigation is centered on allegations that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s new leader over the summer to dig up dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden, holding up U.S. military aid to the Eastern European nation as leverage.