Global Review – 20th October

Polish PM, EC chief cross swords in heated debate

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki came under repeated criticism in a tense debate in the European Parliament yesterday as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told Warsaw its challenge to the supremacy of EU law would not go unpunished. Last week Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that elements of EU law were incompatible with the Polish constitution. Visibly exasperated after more than four hours of back-and-forth in the chamber, Ms Von der Leyen described the Polish tribunal’s ruling as “a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order”. She laid out three options for a response to the Polish court’s attack, ranging from legal action to a cut in funding and suspension of voting rights. Morawiecki accused the EU of blackmail.

Security Council to meet on N. Korea

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency closed-door meeting on North Korea this afternoon, which said it launched a ballistic missile from a submarine yesterday, dramatically increasing its military capabilities. The summit was requested by the UK and the US. France subsequently joined London and Washington’s request.

‘Trump considered military raids in Mexico’

The New York Times reports Mark Esper, Donald Trump’s Pentagon chief, drastically rejected the idea of sending 250,000 troops to the Mexican border feared by then tycoon advisor Stephen Miller, the face of the former administration’s hardline immigration. The paper quotes sources saying the idea was never explicitly submitted to the former president who, on the other hand, wanted to conduct military raids in Mexico against drug cartels, with actions similar to those carried out to hunt and kill terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Trump then dismissed the idea once he realised that many would read in his gesture an act of war against an ally.

Queen turns down ‘oldie of the year’ award

Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch, has politely declined the honour of “oldie of the year” by a British magazine, saying she did not meet “the relevant criteria” and augured they would “find a more worthy recipient”. The queen still keeps a busy schedule of royal duties and yesterday she held audiences with diplomats and hosted a reception at Windsor Castle for global business leaders.

UK ‘booster jabs plea’

As the UK recorded another 43,738 new COVID cases, a number of UK nationals focus on the pandemic. The Daily Express points out that the UK recorded 223 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Tuesday – “the highest level for seven months”. The ‘i’ says government scientific advisers are now meeting once a month despite “cases, hospital admissions and deaths increasing” and fears of a winter wave, as well as suggestions from scientists that a new variant could be between 10% and 15% more infectious. The paper says millions of people are being urged to get third jabs to “keep Britain safe” but there are warnings that boosters are “not being taken up as quickly as the initial doses were rolled out”. The Sun, urges its readers not to “blow it” by missing their vaccinations. “Nothing is more vital to save lives and keep our freedoms this winter,” it says. “If you’re invited to get your booster shot, don’t hesitate.”

Fears grow for Australian missing girl

Australian police say they have “grave concerns” for a four-year-old girl who disappeared from a remote coastal campsite at the weekend. Cleo had gone to sleep on Friday night but the next morning she was gone. The tent was open and even her sleeping bag was gone. The police are looking for her everywhere, even with the help of helicopters.

‘Let me see my grand children’

Meghan Markle’s father pleaded with his daughter and son-in-law, Prince Harry, to show him his grand children, Archie and Lilibet, whom he has never met yet, inviting the Dukes of Sussex to reconciliation. “We should both grow up a little bit, talk to each other, reconcile, for the sake of the children and for ourselves,” said Thomas Markle, 77, speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme. Meghan separated from her father, a former American TV lighting technician who lives in Mexico, before her wedding in May 2018.

Trade warns of UK food price hike

UK Food and drink firms are seeing “terrifying” price rises, a sector trade body has said, warning of a knock-on effect for consumers. Food and Drink Federation boss Ian Wright told MPs inflation is between 14% and 18% for hospitality firms. The price rises for food firms’ ingredients will lead to consumer price rises, he said, and described the situation as “concerning”. The UK’s rate of inflation was 3.2% in August and is expected to rise further.

Olympic torch in China

The Olympic flame arrived in China ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, after the lighting ceremony held in Greece and overshadowed by protests in defense of human rights. The Chinese capital, destined to be the first venue in the world to host the Summer and Winter Games, has seen preparations marked by prevention measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. The flame will be on public display before setting off on an exhibition and promotional tour. Some 2,900 athletes, representing 85 National Olympic Committees, are expected to compete in the Games to be held from February 4 to 20 next year.

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