Malaysian parliament to open amid fears of ethnic nationalism and clamour for budget boost   

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As the Malaysian parliament opens this week amid public furore over a racially charged forum that was held on Sunday, big questions over the nation’s coming budget and a slew of other key bills will dominate the two-month meeting.Top of the agenda is the 2020 budget to be tabled on Friday that is being seen as a forerunner to the country’s 12th Malaysia Plan – a five-year development blueprint to be launched next year premised on the new government’s Shared Prosperity initiative, which aims to…
          

BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS -Winston Churchill   

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BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS Winston Churchill May 13, 1940 On Friday evening last I received from His Majesty the mission to form a new administration. It was the evident will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest poss
          

Boris Johnson Preparing for Brexit Talks to Collapse: Spectator   

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Boris Johnson Preparing for Brexit Talks to Collapse: Spectator(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson’s government is preparing for Brexit talks to collapse, a move for which it will blame Ireland and European Union leaders, according to a text message from one of the prime minister’s officials reported by the Spectator magazine.The message, which ran to nearly 800 words, was published in full by the magazine on its website. It was attributed simply to someone in Johnson’s office.It blamed the EU’s refusal to move on the Irish border question, which has stalled talks for more than a year, on Parliament for passing a law that aims to stop Johnson taking the U.K. out of the bloc without a deal. As a result of that, the author claimed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar had decided not to make concessions on the border.The message suggested that the main way Johnson would try to avoid delaying Brexit would be to try to get an EU country to veto one. It said Britain would offer rewards to any country opposing an extension to negotiations. According to the Spectator, the U.K. would also threaten cooperation on areas including defense and security if it stays in the EU.Johnson Warned Against Big Tax Cuts as U.K. Faces No-Deal ShockNevertheless, the author seemed to accept that an extension was likely, and that Johnson would then fight an election, promising a no-deal Brexit immediately if he won.Talks about Johnson’s Brexit plan, announced last week, are due to continue Tuesday in Brussels. The U.K. side has given more legal detail about how its plan would work, but EU leaders are still demanding that Britain drop its plan to introduce a customs border on the island of Ireland. There’s an informal deadline for the talks of the end of this week. Johnson yesterday called counterparts in what Brexit minister James Duddridge told Parliament was an attempt to “whip up enthusiasm for the deal and avoid no-deal.”Rules and QuestionsMeanwhile, Johnson’s government has delayed publishing its rules for when it would be able to intervene to help businesses after a disagreement over what those rules should be.According to a person familiar with the plans, speaking on condition of anonymity, changes to state aid rules were going to be published Tuesday. That has now been held back.The precise nature of the disagreement isn’t clear, but for months there has been an argument within government on the issue. The Treasury has argued that the European Union’s rules should be copied into British law, to give businesses continuity, and to promote competition. EU rules aim to prevent governments from distorting markets by helping particular companies.On the other side of the argument are ministers who want the government to be able to help businesses struggling in the wake of a no-deal Brexit. Without the constraints of the EU’s rule, the government would be able to back national champions, potentially undercutting rival European firms.To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Why the EU is rejecting Boris Johnson's latest Brexit plan   

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Why the EU is rejecting Boris Johnson's latest Brexit planIt was no secret that the European Union wasn't prepared to accept U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest Brexit proposal, but The Guardian obtained leaked documents with the EU's point-by-point reasoning for its rejection.Johnson's plan included Northern Ireland remaining in an all-Ireland regulatory zone within the EU's single market for goods and electricity, but with a catch that the EU reportedly couldn't come to terms with. Northern Ireland's parliament would hang on to veto powers to block the arrangement every four years, which was cause for concern for the EU.Beyond that, The Guardian reports that the EU believes Johnson's plan could eventually result in abuses within the trading market. For example, they argue Johnson and his team provided no details about how to combat smuggling and that they removed assurances made by previous Prime Minister Theresa May that Northern Ireland would not enjoy a competitive advantage when it comes to trade. The EU also noted that the U.K. would have access to EU databases which would allow it to police the Irish customs border and the U.K.-Northern Ireland regulatory border even if the proposal was vetoed.EU sources denied that Brussels would present a counteroffer to Downing Street. "It is the U.K. that wants to replace the backstop -- and that is our solution," one senior EU diplomat said. Read more at The Guardian.



          

Portugal's Costa Pins Debt Strategy on a Rosy Growth Outlook   

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Portugal's Costa Pins Debt Strategy on a Rosy Growth Outlook(Bloomberg) -- Amid cheering supporters on his election night, Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa went out of his way to reassure investors he has an ambitious target to tackle the country’s big Achilles heel, its towering debt.The problem is that his strategy assumes robust economic growth, not a given in today’s uncertain world. The external climate is deteriorating fast and there are signs that job creation is slowing. Portugal’s four main export markets are within the European Union, where expansion is falling to around 1%, and whose biggest economy looks set to enter recession.Let’s look at the numbers. Costa said he’d bring public debt to under 100% of GDP by the end of his next four-year term in 2023, from currently 122%. In the government’s base-case scenario, that assumes average annual GDP growth of around 2%. Consensus forecasts and even the Bank of Portugal’s estimates are now closer to 1.7% growth. Rabobank even sees a slowdown to 1.2% next year, and that assumes an orderly Brexit and no U.S. import tariffs on European cars.The debt-reduction target "is quite ambitious,” Michiel van der Veen, an economist at Rabobank, said in an interview, citing already slowing growth and trade tensions. “They need to take care of the demands that people are making for more government expenditure.’’Indeed, there have been signs of social discontent, and voices demanding an increase in spending have become louder. Given his larger majority in parliament and reduced dependence on the far-left, the 58-year-old Costa could entertain spending cuts to offset slower growth.But for the man who came to power reversing some of the unpopular belt-tightening measures imposed during the 2011 bailout, the chances of an about-turn are slim.The entire strategy is to reduce debt by outgrowing it, not by squeezing the budget to pay it down more quickly, said Filipe Garcia, an economist at financial consulting company IMF-Informacao de Mercados Financeiros SA.“To reduce the debt ratio in this way, which is a slow process, Portugal needs a favorable external environment,” said Garcia. “I am afraid that, in the context of a crisis or interest rate hikes, the debt reduction process will be interrupted.”The government says that in a worst-case scenario in which GDP growth would slow from 1.6% in 2019 to 1.3% in 2023, it would miss its target, though debt would still fall to 103% of GDP.For now investors aren’t terribly concerned. On the contrary, the yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds fell as low as 0.11% Monday, edging below the Spanish equivalent for the first time since December 2009.The reason for such calm? The European Central Bank is lending a helping hand with near-zero borrowing costs, said Garcia.(Updates with Portugal yields in tenth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net;Joao Lima in Lisbon at jlima1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond Colitt, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Boost for Johnson as Court Rules in His Favor: Brexit Update   

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Boost for Johnson as Court Rules in His Favor: Brexit Update(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. As Brexit negotiations resumed in Brussels, Boris Johnson got a boost from the courts. A Scottish judge ruled in the prime minister’s favor in a case that could have forced him to obey a law requiring him to delay Brexit if he can’t reach a deal.But the lift may only be short-lived. The judge ignored the prime minister’s frequent assertions he won’t seek an extension and instead relied on assurances from government lawyers that he would obey the law. That may make it harder for Johnson to leave without a deal on Oct. 31.Key Developments:Johnson’s lead negotiator, David Frost, is in Brussels for talks with European CommissionScottish judge rules in Johnson’s favor after pledges over Brexit delayWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About BrexitBrexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismJohnson Calls EU Counterparts to Urge Shift (4 p.m.)Boris Johnson spoke to his counterparts in Denmark, Sweden and Poland this afternoon, his office said. Brexit minister James Duddridge told Parliament the prime minister was trying to “whip up enthusiasm for the deal and avoid no-deal."Questioned over how the government would meet its apparently contradictory commitments to leave the EU by Oct. 31 and to abide by a law requiring it to seek a delay to Brexit if there isn’t a deal, Johnson’s spokesman James Slack told reporters: "The manner in which this is achieved is a matter for the government." he gave no further details.Government Won’t Publish Brexit Legal Text (3:45 p.m.)Brexit Minister James Duddridge said the government won’t make public the full legal 44-page text of its latest proposals to the EU.The full text “will only be published when doing so will assist with the negotiations,” Duddridge told MPs after being questioned about the issue in the House of Commons. “We’re not going to provide that legal text if it’s going to get in the way of negotiations and get in the way of a deal.”Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said both Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker had asked for the document to be published. “The only party insisting on secrecy is the U.K. Government,” he told lawmakers. “The question is obvious: What is the Government hiding?”No Deal Trade Burden at 8 Billion Pounds (1:30 p.m.)Businesses trading between the U.K. and European Union will face almost 8 billion pounds ($9.9 billion) of additional costs in a no-deal Brexit, according to new estimates by the U.K’s tax and customs authority HMRC.Importers will pay a total of 3.8 billion pounds submitting the necessary customs declarations forms if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this month. Exporters’ costs will rise to 3.9 billion pounds, HMRC said.The calculation shows the cost for one year and is based on 2017 trade flows. HMRC said it calculated that year’s EU-U.K. trade flows as if they were carried out with the U.K. outside the bloc.Johnson Wins Scottish Challenge on Extension (12:55 p.m.)A Scottish judge refused to put further obligations on Boris Johnson, saying his “unequivocal assurances’’ to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline were sufficient.At a hearing in Edinburgh on Friday, Johnson’s lawyers promised he will obey a law that forces him to postpone Brexit. The claimants had argued that Johnson couldn’t be trusted and should be forced to comply with the legislation under threat of a fine or imprisonment.“I am not persuaded that it is necessary for the court to grant the orders sought or any variant of them,” Judge Peter Cullen said while giving his ruling.Jo Maugham, one of the challengers, said he will appeal the decision.Johnson May Meet Varadkar As EU Seeks Progress (12:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson may try to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the coming days as he seeks to show progress in Brexit talks, according to a U.K. official speaking on condition of anonymity.The U.K. accepts both sides need to know where the proposals put forward by Johnson are heading by Friday, the person said. Both Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron signaled they want progress by the end of the week.If insufficient progress is made, then Johnson’s plan may not even appear on the agenda for the Oct. 17-18 EU Council meeting, the person said.Brexit TimelineTime for EU to Compromise, U.K. Says (11:45 a.m.)Boris Johnson wants the EU to engage fully with his proposals for the Irish border and it’s the bloc’s turn to compromise, the prime minister’s spokesman James Slack told reporters in London.Reiterating that he won’t accept Northern Ireland being in a separate customs territory from the rest of the U.K., Slack said London has made compromises and expects Brussels to follow suit. He doubled-down on the premier’s pledge to leave with or without a deal on Oct. 31.“We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the U.K. and the EU, but if this is to be possible, the EU must match the compromises that the U.K. has made,” Slack told reporters. “The prime minister believes that we have set out a fair and sensible compromise.”Johnson will call the leaders of Poland, Sweden and Denmark on Monday, Slack said.EU Demands ‘Workable Solution’ (11:35 a.m.)David Frost, the U.K.’s chief negotiator, is at the European Commission for Brexit talks today, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.The negotiations this week are “to give the U.K. the opportunity to present their proposals in more detail and then we’ll take stock,” she said.She added that the U.K. has to come up with “a workable solution now and not something based on untried and revocable arrangements.”Scottish Ruling Expected at Noon (Earlier)The latest Scottish court ruling related to Brexit is expected at noon Monday. Politicians are seeking a ruling that forces Prime Minister Boris Johnson to obey a law that requires him to seek an extension if he can’t reach a deal with the European Union.Jolyon Maugham, a lawyer backing the case, said there are two elements to the ruling. First, will the court order Johnson to act as the law dictates, which would create the possibility of fines or even a jail term if he fails?Second, is sending a letter requesting the extension -- which Johnson’s lawyers have promised to do -- enough to comply with the law. Or could the court look at other actions by Johnson that might be seen as undermining the law?Earlier:Brexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About Brexit\--With assistance from Edward Evans, Anthony Aarons, Ian Wishart, Alex Morales and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

EU needs more troops, says  incoming foreign affairs chief as he calls for 'power politics'   

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EU needs more troops, says  incoming foreign affairs chief as he calls for 'power politics'The EU must have more troops and be prepared to use them across the globe, the bloc’s incoming foreign affairs chief has told the European Parliament.  Josep Borrell, who is nominated to be the EU’s next chief diplomat, said that Europe could not allow itself to become “irrelevant” on a world stage dominated by superpowers such as the US and China.  “We have the instruments to play power politics,” he said at a European Parliament hearing into his candidacy to head up the EU foreign affairs service, “The EU has to learn to use the language of power.” “We should reinforce the EU’s international role and further our military capacity to act,” the 72-year-old Spanish socialist added.  “We should pool our national sovereignties together to multiply the power of individual member states,” Mr Borrell said, "I am convinced that if we don't act together Europe will become irrelevant."  Mr Borrell called for the numbers of EU troops that could be deployed to be raised to at least 55-60,000.  He said the 60,000 target was first set in 1999 by EU leaders after the Balkan war.  The EU does have “battlegroups” of 3,000 soldiers from across the EU on standby every six months but these have never been used and would require the unanimous support of every member state before they could be.  Mr Borrell said the EU had to speak with a unified "truly integrated" foreign policy voice on the world stage. He said the total defence spend in the EU was half the GDP of Belgium and more than in China and Russia.  But that spending did not translate into military capacity because it was fragmented among the EU member countries, Mr Borrell said.  He backed EU plans for pooling defence research projects. Some critics have accused those plans of being a stepping stone towards a future EU Army.  FAQ | European joint defence force Although that idea has been publicly supported by Angela Merkel,  Emmanuel Macron and incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, it is an extremely distant prospect at the moment.  “We have to spend together,” he said, “We have to be more operational on the ground, we have to deploy forces, starting in our neighbourhood.” “We should envisage a Europe that can defend itself while working for a multilateral peaceful world order,” Mr Borrell said before insisting this would strengthen NATO rather than be a rival to it.  He earlier warned, in a thinly veiled swipe at the US and Donald Trump,  that some of the EU’s allies were “disengaging” from the international rules based system. He also told MEPs that the EU could not allow itself to be “squeezed” between the US and China in the trade war between the two superpowers.  If his candidacy is backed by the European Parliament, Mr Borrell will become the EU’s chief diplomat on  November 1, succeeding Federica Mogherini.



          

The Week Ahead: Sino-US Trade Talk, Brexit and American Inflation   

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Resumption of the Sino-US trade talk, UK parliament suspension, US inflation and Singapore GDP are some of next week's highlights.
          

Lord Kames argued that neither the King nor Parliament had the right to grant monopolies because they harmed the interests of the people (1778)   

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Lord Kames argued that neither the King nor Parliament had the right to grant monopolies because they harmed the interests of the people (1778)


          

Cobden reminds the Liberals in Parliament that the motto of their party is "Economy, Retrenchment, and Reform!" (1862)   

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Cobden reminds the Liberals in Parliament that the motto of their party is “Economy, Retrenchment, and Reform!” (1862)


          

Cobden urges the British Parliament not to be the "Don Quixotes of Europe" using military force to right the wrongs of the world (1854)   

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Cobden urges the British Parliament not to be the “Don Quixotes of Europe” using military force to right the wrongs of the world (1854)


          

J.S. Mill spoke in Parliament in favour of granting women the right to vote, to have "a voice in determining who shall be their rulers" (1866)   

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J.S. Mill spoke in Parliament in favour of granting women the right to vote, to have “a voice in determining who shall be their rulers” (1866)


          

J.S. Mill in a speech before parliament denounced the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the use of flogging in Ireland, saying that those who ordered this "deserved flogging as much as any of those who were flogged by his orders" (1866)   

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J.S. Mill in a speech before parliament denounced the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the use of flogging in Ireland, saying that those who ordered this “deserved flogging as much as any of those who were flogged by his orders” (1866)


          

John Milton gave a speech before Parliament defending the right of freedom of speech in which he likened the government censors to an "oligarchy" and free speech to a "flowery crop of knowledge" (1644)   

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John Milton gave a speech before Parliament defending the right of freedom of speech in which he likened the government censors to an “oligarchy” and free speech to a “flowery crop of knowledge” (1644)


          

Sir Edward Coke defends British Liberties and the Idea of Habeas Corpus in the Petition of Right before Parliament (1628)   

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Sir Edward Coke defends British Liberties and the Idea of Habeas Corpus in the Petition of Right before Parliament (1628)


          

5 great Gladys Knight and the Pips tracks   

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For any who do not know, Gladys Knight and the Pips is one of the great bands.  They started out in the 60s and had many huge hits.  Their biggest is "Midnight Train To Georgia."  I'm  not going to note that one tonight because everybody already knows it.

1) "Love Overboard"



One of the final great Gladys Knight and the Pips singles.  I love Gladys' deep notes on this song.

2) "Make Yours A Happy Home"



Of all their seventies charting hits, this is probably the least well known but to hear it even once, is to love it forever.

3) "Neither One Of Us"



The group spent some time at MOTOWN in the sixites.  They recorded many outstanding songs there but, for me, this is the best one of all.

4) "Landlord"



MOTOWN was where the group first recorded a song by Ashford & Simpson -- "Didn't You Know (You'd Have To Cry Sometime)."  Years later, 1980, they released their best album ALL LOVE which was written and produced by Ashford and Simpson.   "Landlord" is from that album.  You should also check out "Friendly Persuasion," "Add It Up," "Taste of Bitter Love" and "Bourgie, Bourgie" from that album (the last two were also hit singles).

5) "Love Is Fire (Love Is Ice)"

This is from 1987's ALL OUR LOVE.  "Love Overboard" is also from the same album.  That was the group's final studio album of contemporary music.  And this song, written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, is one of the best on the album.  Gladys' phrasing on this is especially haunting.



"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, October 1, 2019.  Protests in Iraq over corruption, in the US Joe Biden defenders continue attempting to defend and/or deny Joe's unethical conduct.

In Iraq today, a major protest.  In fact, another major protest.  It is at least the third major protest in the last seven days.  Last week, Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reported:


Protestors demanding government action on postgraduate unemployment were hosed down with Iraqi security force water cannons on Wednesday, in an act condemned by a national human rights commission as an act “against freedom of expression.”
Iraqi master’s degree and PhD holders have been protesting outside ministry buildings in Baghdad since June, calling for measures to ease unemployment among postgraduates, including an increase in public sector jobs.

A video recorded by a protestor and published on social media on Wednesday shows water cannons being used to disperse protestors in front of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad.

Protestors, some of whom can be seen wearing graduation sashes, are knocked to the ground by the sheer force of the cannons. Other protestors rush to their aid.

“This is how Iraqi postgraduates are being treated in Iraq,” said the protestor recording events, who proceeds to call on Muqtada al-Sadr, the United Nations, the European Union and the entire world to come to their assistance.



Sunday, journalist Mustafa Habib reported:

Breaking: Big protests in against the decision to remove General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi. The Sunni city defending a Shiite officer from the south of the country. Remarkable
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0:08





Now, today, Mohammed Rwanduzy (RUDAW) reports:

Hundreds of Iraqis protested in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday to express diverse, long-brewing grievances, including, a lack of basic services, rampant corruption, and unequal treatment within the Iraqi Army. 
Civilian protestors expressed anger about the Friday dismissal of Iraqi Army commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, credited with the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, from the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (ICTS).  Civilian protestors holding pictures of al-Saadi disapproved of his subsequent transfer to the Ministry of Defense.
“We don't want this is corrupt government,” civilians chanted, while others extended their discontent to the parliament and presidency. “All are corrupt equally,” a protestor said.

Mustafa Habib notes:

Breaking: All the world expected big protests in this summer, but did not happen because they want to give the govt a chance despite the continued poor services, but after the govt's decision to remove Saadi, the protests began today from & may be the biggest.
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0:27




Here are some more Tweets about the protest.

Protest against the government in Tahrir Square, Baghdad




Dozens of people gathered today morning in Tahrir Square in following calls on social media to protest against the government.




Hundreds of Iraqis protest in ’s Tahrir Square to express diverse, long-brewing grievances, including, a lack of basic services