October 9th – The BESA Times
Forty-First Edition - Monday, 9th
Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days
Tensions remain high between Catalonia and Spain after last week’s independence referendum. Last Thursday, the Spanish Constitutional Court suspended today’s session of the Catalonian parliament in response to a motion lodged by the Spanish Socialist party that claimed such a meeting, in which independence may be officially declared, would violate the rights of its MPs. In response, Carme Forcadell, President of the Catalan parliament, stated that the ruling “harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems.” In the meantime, the province’s president Carles Puidgemont reiterated his demand for dialogue while the Spanish authorities said any discussion with the Catalan government would not take place unless its plans for independence were abandoned.
Theresa May’s leadership of the British Conservative Party appears to be increasingly in doubt after on Wednesday, the Prime Minister delivered the closing speech at the annual party conference in Manchester. Many saw in the address her chance to reassert her authority over the cabinet after weeks of open divisions between ministers over Brexit strategy. However, the allocution was full of awkward moments which started when a comedian handed her a fake P45 (dismissal note in the UK). After that, she was struggled against a hacking cough and towards the end of the speech, letters from the set fell down. On Friday, a former party chairman under David Cameron openly called for a leadership election, claiming about 30 MPs were in favor of having a new leader. To trigger a vote of no confidence on the leader, at least 48 of the 316 MPs the party currently has in Westminster, have to agree. A contest would then take place only if the Prime Minister lost that vote. The Pound dipped in the last days of trading also partly because of bad economic data.
US President Donald Trump has unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul the country’s tax system both for individuals and corporations. “This is a revolutionary change, and the biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor and as wages start going up at levels that you haven’t seen in many years,” Mr. Trump told supporters in a speech in Indiana. For individuals, the plan would reduce the tax brackets from seven to three, with tax rates of 12%, 25% and 35%. Under the proposals, corporate tax would also be reduced from 35% to 20%. While stocks generally reacted positively to the news, some analysts doubt the plan will address some of the country’s problems such as inequality, and primary and secondary education as well as infrastructure quality.
What to remember of last week's news?
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, both the NRA (National Rifle Association) and some Republican congressmen have called for additional regulations of the so-called gun “bump-stocks”. Theses are devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic the fire of a fully automatic weapon. The gun lobby said: “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations”.
Ryanair’s chief operation officer Michael Hickley will leave the company by the end of this month in light of the low-cost airline ongoing chaos which started when a rostering mistake resulted in thousands of cancelled flights. In mid-September, the company announced 2,100 cancellations, which were followed by another 18,000 by the end of the month. About 700,000 passengers are forecast to be affected.
The US Department of Commerce has hit Bombardier with an 80% tariff on imported C-Series jet to the US. This comes after the same company was hit by a 220% tariff earlier last month. The US accuses the Canadian company to have received unfair subsidies from the British and Canadian governments and to have sold some of its model below production cost.
Our Homemade Article
A review of the electric car: its history and its future by Jan Erik Peršolja
Understand in pictures
An incredibly huge python was killed and fried for a village feast in Indonesia. Long snakes are a common sight in the country, but the size of this one shocked many in Indonesia and beyond.
Did you know?
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the company behind the Fearless Girl statue placed in front of Wall Street’s famous stock market bull, will have to pay $5m in damages in a row over equal pay. The company has been accused by the Department for Labour of paying its female staff less than male staff. The firm will now have to pay the sum to more than 300 female employees as well as 15 black employees who were found to be paid less than their white counterparts.
What to expect for next week
Next Monday, EU finance ministers will discuss the possible future tasks of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in the context of a broader debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union. Proposals for deeper integration have been recently put forward both by the Commission and the French government.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA S. LIVERANI
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