EU energy prices plan postponed till after the Prague summit
The EU Commission action plan on energy has been postponed at least until after the summit of informal leaders in Prague next Thursday and Friday. The presentation of the plan was scheduled for today, Tuesday, when the college of European commissioners will meet. “The point is not on the agenda. On Friday the dossier will be at the centre of the informal European Council, after which we can proceed quickly to continue our work on energy prices,” explained Dana Spinant, spokesperson for the EU Commission. “We will listen to the member countries and act in the appropriate manner and at the appropriate time.”
First EU summit draft ‘making proposals on gas price caps’
The European Council has invited the Commission to “propose viable solutions to reduce prices through a gas price cap”, the provisional draft of the declaration of the informal summit of EU leaders in Prague later this week reveals. The text calls for “accelerating negotiations for mutually-beneficial partnerships on security of supply and lower prices”. The declaration, from now to Friday, may be subject to changes and it is not excluded that at the end of the summit there would not even be a ‘statement’ if it is believed that, on the issues of the energy dossier, there are no steps forward compared to the June summit.
Tokyo condemns N. Korea missile launch
Japan has strongly condemned the launch of a North Korean ballistic missile that Tokyo believes flew over its territory. “A ballistic missile probably passed over our country before falling into the Pacific Ocean,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, adding “This is an act of violence that follows the repeated and recent launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn it”. The
North Korea ballistic missile over Japan was the first in five years early today, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in northern Japan. The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover but said it did not use any defence measures to destroy the missile. Japan’s top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said the missile flew 4,600 kilometres to a maximum altitude of 1,000 km.
Truss ‘faces new Tory rebellion’ after tax cut U-turn
Many of today’s London papers lead with reaction to the government scrapping plans to abolish the top rate of tax for high earners. The ‘i’ reports that Prime Minister Liz Truss is facing a new rebellion on plans to cut public spending to help cover the cost of £43billion of the remaining tax cuts announced in the mini-budget. Reflecting wider anger in some ranks of the Conservative Party, the paper reports that a former minister is warning that a combination of cuts and a bad Office for Budget Responsibility economic outlook could end her premiership. Conservative MPs are now plotting to avert a squeeze on benefits payments, ‘The Guardian’ reports. The paper also says that the chancellor is now planning to bring forward plans for a new fiscal statement, which is expected to focus on spending and deregulation. The ‘Financial Times’ reports that the government abolished plans to scrap the top rate of tax after it was clear it stood no chance of being voted through Parliament. The PM had insisted on Sunday that the controversial plan to abolish the 45p rate would go ahead, despite a number of MPs in her party opposing the move. But following talks with her senior team, she concluded it stood no chance of being voted through the House of Commons. The ‘Daily Mail’ urges the PM to “get a grip”, saying her U-turn on the 45p tax rate has left supporters worried about her determination to pursue the rest of her radical programme. But Ms Truss has urged readers of the ‘Daily Express’ to stick with her government, saying she would “reward their trust”. The PM admitted the tax cut U-turn had come after “listening to people’s concerns”, the paper says.
15 prisoners dead in Ecuador prison
At least 15 inmates died and another 20 were injured following a revolt that broke out in one of the largest prisons in Ecuador, already the scene of deadly violence in the past. The authorities said “the operations of tactical units continue to regain control” of the prison, located on the outside the southern city of Latacunga. It houses about 4,300 inmates.
Turkey, Libya sign oil, gas deal
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu signed a deal in Tripoli on Monday allowing for oil and gas exploration in Libya’s Mediterranean waters – three years after a maritime border deal that angered European nations. The deal follows an agreement Turkey signed with in Tripoli in 2019, which demarcated the countries’ shared maritime borders but sparked anger in Greece and Cyprus. Cavusoglu however stressed on Monday that the new accord was between “two sovereign countries “and other countries have no right to interfere”. Najla al-Mangoush, foreign minister in Libya’s Government of National Unity, said the new deal was “important”, especially in light of “the Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions” for energy markets.
Elon Musk in row with Zelensky over Russia ‘peace plan’
US billionaire Elon Musk was embroiled in a social media spat with Ukrainian officials, including President Zelensky, on Monday over his ideas on ending Russia’s invasion. Musk sparked the controversy on Twitter by proposing a peace deal involving re-running under UN supervision annexation referenda in Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions, acknowledging Russian sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula and giving Ukraine a neutral status. He created a poll to let his more than 107 million followers vote on the idea. Zelensky responded with a Twitter poll of his own, asking: “Which @elonmusk do you like more?” with the options “One who supports Ukraine” and “One who supports Russia”. Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk replied bluntly: “My very diplomatic response (to Musk) is to get lost.”
Trump sues CNN for defamation
Former US president Donald Trump sued CNN for defamation on Monday, seeking $475 million (€483.5 million) in punitive damages and claiming that the network had carried out a “campaign of libel and slander” against him. In his lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Trump claims that the network had used its influence as a leading news organisation to defeat him politically. Trump claims in the lawsuit that CNN has used such defamatory labels against him as “racist,” “Russian lackey,” “insurrectionist” and “Hitler”. CNN declined to comment on the case.
Italian girl arrested in Iran
A 30-year-old Roman, Alessia Piperno, was arrested in Iran and detained in a prison in Tehran. On the night of the news, the parents reported that they had received a phone call from their daughter in tears: “Please help me, I’m afraid I won’t go out anymore.” Her father said that the arrest took place during a party. “We are in contact with the Foreign Office which has activated all the necessary procedures,” he said. In one of the latest posts on her Instagram page, Alessia made a long argument on the situation in the country, explaining that the “wisest decision” would be to leave the country.
Sweden’s Svante Paabo wins Nobel for medicine
The Nobel Prize for Medicine has gone to Sweden’s Svante Paabo for his work on human evolution.The Prize committee said he achieved the seemingly impossible task of cracking the genetic code of one of our extinct relatives – Neanderthals. He also performed the “sensational” feat of discovering the previously unknown relative – Denisovans. The Medicine Prize will be followed by the award for physics today.
Police chief resigns over Indonesia football stadium crush
An Indonesian police chief has been fired and nine other officers suspended after the weekend stampede at a football stadium that left 125 people dead, including 32 children, and more than 300 people injured, some seriously. The government has appointed a joint independent fact-finding team, which is expected to finish its work in two or three weeks.