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UK PM May appoints Stephen Barclay as new Brexit Secretary

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Stephen Barclay has been named UK's new Brexit secretary on November 16, 2018

BEN STANSALL | AFP | Getty Images

Stephen Barclay has been named UK’s new Brexit secretary on November 16, 2018

The spokesman said that May herself would personally oversee the last 10 days of negotiations with the EU on the future framework, and that Barclay would focus on the domestic preparedness for Brexit and getting May’s draft withdrawal agreement through parliament.

Barclay replaced Dominic Raab who quit as Brexit minister on Thursday over May’s draft plan for leaving the EU.

Former interior minister Amber Rudd was appointed as work and pensions minister, replacing Esther McVey who also resigned over May’s Brexit deal.

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How a nationwide protest against Maduro could shape Venezuela’s future

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Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, reacts during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters

Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, reacts during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019.

However, only a limited amount of emergency supplies has made it into the country thus far.

The opposition’s proposed move is widely seen as an attempt to undermine Maduro’s authority. And major international relief organizations have said they are reluctant to assist with a delivery effort of humanitarian supplies, fearing the situation has become too political sensitive.

It has made getting basic products into Venezuela, past Maduro’s allied security forces and to those that need it most, extremely challenging.

Guaido tweeted a picture of himself surrounded by stacks of white pots of vitamin and nutritional supplements on Monday. He claimed his team had successfully delivered the first cargo of humanitarian aid, but did not explain where it came from.

“If Maduro can block humanitarian aid from coming into the country and keep the loyalty of security forces then he will move to shut down the National Assembly and put Guaido into jail or force him into exile,” IHS’ Moya-Ocampos said.



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The EU could collapse in the same way the Soviet Union did

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Soros’ commentary comes at a time of uncertainty and instability in Europe amid a rise in populism and anti-establishment sentiment.

Brexit in the U.K., widespread civil unrest in France, an influential right-wing party in government in Italy and political flux in Germany, a country that has witnessed its own rebirth of far-right politics, is shaking the bloc’s foundations. In addition, anti-migrant policies and anti-democratic actions in eastern Europe have put countries like Hungary and Poland on a path towards potential disciplinary action with the rest of the EU.

Soros explored the political situation in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel (who’s serving her last term in office) is seeing her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party pressured in office not only by its coalition partners, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) but by the far-right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) that has gained voters with its euroskeptic, anti-immigration pledges.

“As it is, the current ruling coalition cannot be as robustly pro-European as it would be without the AfD threatening its right flank,” Soros noted. On Brexit, he said the public was becoming increasingly aware of the “dire consequences” of the U.K.’s departure from the EU but noted now that “the situation is so complicated that most Britons just want to get it over with, although it will be the defining event for the country for decades to come.”

When it comes to Italy, Soros said Europe had made a “fatal mistake” in 2017, during the migration crisis, when it enforced the Dublin Agreement which meant that migrants arriving on European shores had to claim asylum in the first country of entry. Italy struggling to cope with the number of migrants arriving drove the electorate “into the arms of the anti-European League party and Five Star Movement in 2018,” Soros noted.

To counter anti-European forces, both within and without the bloc, Soros said Europe needed to recognize its enemies and then “awaken the sleeping pro-European majority and mobilize it to defend the values on which the EU was founded.”

“Otherwise, the dream of a united Europe could become the nightmare of the twenty-first century.”

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British Airways owner IAG stops selling shares to non-EU citizens

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The parent company of British Airways and Iberia has stopped the sales of its stock to investors outside of the European Union.

EU-ownership rules dictate that more than half of an airline’s stock must be held by shareholders that are based within the economic bloc.

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was at risk of breaching that level with 47.5 percent of shares now held by non-EU citizens. Qatar Airways holds almost half of the non-EU allowance with its 22 percent stake in the group.

The filing to the market was released late Monday. Shortly before midday London time on Tuesday, AIG’s stock was languishing toward the bottom of the FTSE 100, more than 1 percent lower.

The restriction on British Airways is likely to become even more complicated when Brexit is enacted at the end of next month.

After the U.K. leaves the European Union, U.K. shareholders in airlines will no longer count toward the required 50 percent minimum EU ownership.

IAG, Ryanair and easyJet could reportedly attempt to comply with the ownership rules by ensuring that when British investors sell stock, it is immediately bought by EU investors.

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