No EU agreement in sight on gas price cap
There is still “no agreement” among the EU leaders on the gas price cap, according to a senior EU official in view of the European summit in Brussels on October 20 and 21. The topic, he explains, “must be further explored by the competent ministers and at different levels” since member countries have “different points of view” and propose “different solutions”, which “depending on the case” would have “different effects” throughout Europe. “The idea of a dynamic roof requires further discussion,” points out the source. The EU summit, he continues, will serve to “sound the support of member states” for the various options on the table. Earlier this week, President Putin declared he would not supply energy to those states that impose a ceiling on energy prices.
‘Broader coalition not needed for Russia oil price cap’ – US
The G7 is still working on setting a price cap on Russian oil but enrolling more nations to the scheme is not necessary for it to succeed, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday. Australia recently joined the Group of Seven wealthy democracies and the European Union in backing the move aimed at depriving Moscow of a key source of cash for its war in Ukraine as well as cooling soaring energy prices. “We are not trying to sign up additional countries to a coalition,” Yellen told a news conference at the IMF’s annual meetings in Washington. The United States has imposed an embargo on Russian oil while the European Union will ban most imports from December.
Darker growth prospects for the EU – IMF
Under the pressure of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, “the prospects in Europe have become gloomy with declining growth and inflation destined to remain high”. During a briefing on the European economic scenario, Alfred Kammer, director of IMF’s European Department, said, “The risks to growth are to the downside and those to inflation to rise,” adding the hypothesis of a complete stop to Russian supplies, combined with a cold winter, would result in GDP losses of up to 3% in some economies of central and eastern Europe”.
Putin says no more massive strikes – for now
President Putin has said there was no need for more massive strikes on Ukraine, days after the heaviest bombardment of the country since the war began. Speaking to journalists after a summit with regional leaders in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, the Russian leader said the recent strikes had destroyed 22 out of the 29 targets in Ukraine set by the military and that “they are getting” the remaining seven. He said it was not his aim to destroy Ukraine. “There’s no need for massive strikes. We now have other tasks,” he said. Moscow’s goal of mobilising 300,000 men would be met within two weeks, he said. It comes as Russian forces are mostly in retreat and Ukraine advances, almost eight months since the invasion.Since Joe Biden took office as US president, Washington has sent over $18.2 billion worth of military supplies to Ukraine, including $17.6 billion since the start of the invasion on February 24.
New US$ 725 million weapons package Ukraine
The United States has announced a new package of arms aid to Ukraine worth $725 million. However, the Pentagon notes the new military supplies do not include the anti-missile systems requested by Kiev.
$400 milliom Saudi humanitarian aid to Ukraine
Saudi Arabia announced humanitarian aid worth $400 million for Ukraine after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke on the phone with President Zelensky, stressing “the position of the kingdom to support everything that will contribute to the reduction of the escalation and the willingness of the kingdom to continue mediation efforts”. In September, Riyadh played an unexpected mediator role, leading to an exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev. Liz Truss fires Kwarteng, makes astonishing U-turn
British Prime Minister Liz Truss fired her finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday and scrapped parts of their economic package in a desperate bid to stay in power and survive the market and political turmoil gripping the country. Most of the national London papers spotlight a forlorn Truss snapped on Friday at a media conference. “She’ll be gone within two weeks,” one unnamed senior Tory, who backed Truss over the summer, tells the Financial Times. Focusing on what it calls a sign of Truss’ “political weakness”, the Times questions the decision to replace Kwarteng with new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who had backed Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest. As well as a similar photo of Ms Truss looking down, there’s word from a source who says Kwarteng believes the PM’s decision to sack him “only buys her a few more weeks”. Carrying on the theme of capturing Truss looking down at her press conference, the Daily Mail asks how much more the PM – and the country – can take. The first sentence of its lead story packs a punch too, calling the PM’s “first 38 days in office… some of the most shambolic in British political history”.
“Chaos” is how the Guardian describes Friday, after the PM sacked and replaced her chancellor and performed another U-turn on plans to scrap an £18billion rise in corporation tax. Senior Tory MPs are now planning to remove Ms Truss from office, the paper writes, with one former minister saying “it’s 50-50 whether she will make it till Christmas”. The Daily Express, which has supported Truss since she launched her leadership bid, describes Conservatives turning on the PM as “vultures”. The Daily Telegraph’s lead story lists some of the events of the last 24 hours, calling Friday an “extraordinary day of reversals”, before noting that some Tory MPs have submitted letters to the 1922 Committee. Below that, cartoonist Matt Pritchett’s illustration of a news bulletin reads: “Warning: viewers in other countries may find the next item hilarious.” The next item? UK politics!
Turkey mine blast kills 25, traps dozens
An explosion inside a coal mine in northern Turkey killed at least 25 people, local officials announced, while rescuers working through the night were trying to bring dozens of others trapped to the surface.The explosion occurred Friday evening at the state-owned TTK Amasra Muessese Mudurlugu mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin. There were 110 people in the mine at the time of the explosion. Most of the workers were able to evacuate following the blast, but 49 were trapped in a higher risk area of the facility. A preliminary assessment indicated the explosion was likely caused by firedamp – a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines.
Climate activists deface van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’
Environmental protesters threw tomato soup over one of Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflower’” paintings at London’s National Gallery on Friday, in the latest “direct-action” stunt targeting works of art. The gallery in Trafalgar Square said the protesters caused “minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed”. The painting went back on display a few hours after the attack. Protest group Just Stop Oilwants to end UK government approval for exploring, developing and producing fossil fuels.
Harry Potter’s Hagrid dies at 72
Robbie Coltrane, the baby-faced comedian and character actor whose hundreds of roles included the gentle half-giant Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” movies, has died. He was 72. Coltrane’s agent Belinda Wright said he died Friday at a hospital in his native Scotland, but did not immediately offer other details. She called him “forensically intelligent” and “brilliantly witty” in just one of many tributes made to him. “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who decades ago had said Coltrane was her first choice to play Hagrid, tweeted Friday that he was “an incredible talent, a complete one off”, adding “I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him.” Born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, Scotland, Coltrane was in his early 20s when he began pursuing an acting career and renamed himself in honor of jazz musician John Coltrane. He was also popular as a crime-solving psychologist on the TV series “Cracker” and also appeared in two Bond films. Calling him “our national treasure”, The Sun quotes Wright saying, “Hagrid brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world”.