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8th October Briefing: Kurds abandoned, climate protests, LSE deal collapses and more…

By October 11, 2019 No Comments

Climate protests hit London

Extinction Rebellion, a climate protest group, began its planned two weeks of protests by blocking key roads and bridges in the British capital. Around 280 people were arrested around the city as they blocked roads such as Millbank near the Houses of Parliament.

Extinction Rebellion says that their planned protests will be five times as large as a similar campaign in April, when more than 1,100 arrests were made. Demonstrations also took place in New York, Amsterdam and Sydney.

Prime Minister asks US to revoke immunity

Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked that a woman whisked out of the country after a traffic collision not be given diplomatic immunity. Anne Sacoolas is under investigation after a motorcyclist was killed by a car travelling on the wrong side of the road on August 27. Ms Sacoolas had been in the country for only three weeks at the time.

The US State Department said it rarely waives diplomatic immunity. Ms Sacoolas enjoys immunity by being married to a man who has it. International conventions grant diplomatic immunity to diplomat’s accompanying family members.

US abandons Kurdish allies in north Syria

The US has confirmed that it will withdraw from north Syria, opening the way for Turkish forces to take control. The US had been providing support to their Kurdish allies in the region. The Kurds had been instrumental in defeating Islamic State, but Turkey views Kurdish forces as a terror threat.

President Donald Trump has reacted to criticism over the move by saying he will obliterate Turkey’s economy if they overstep. There are around 40m Kurds living in southern Turkey, northern Iraq and Syria, and north-western Iran.

Hong Kong exchange pulls offer

The planned takeover of the London Stock Exchange by its Hong Kong equivalent has collapsed. HKEX had tabled a £32bn offer that would create a capital markets business that would dominate Asia and Europe. It has dropped the deal after it failed to convince the LSE’s management that it would be a good idea.

Hong Kong’s position as the gateway to China is under threat by Shanghai and Shenzhen, and protests in the city have meant HKEX’s third quarter was the worst out of all developed markets.

US blacklists Chinese companies

The US Department of Commerce has added 28 Chinese firms to the Entity List, which stops them from doing business with US companies. Video surveillance and facial recognition firms have been targeted for their role in the crackdown of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, a province in western China.

High-level trade talks are set to resume this week as tariffs on Chinese goods worth $250bn entering the US will rise to 30% on October 15. The US says the blacklist has nothing to do with the trade.