‘Trade war a reality’, French finance minister warns

A trade war is now a reality, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned as G20 ministers gather for a summit in Argentina. The current US trade policy of imposing unilateral tariffs is based on « the law of the jungle », he said. But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the tariffs and urged the EU and China to open their markets to allow free competition. Last week, US President Donald Trump described the EU as a foe on trade. Mr Trump later threatened to impose tariffs on…

Macron aide Benalla: French police quizzed over assault video

Media playback is unsupported on your device Three French policemen are being questioned for allegedly leaking security footage of an incident in which a presidential aide beat up a demonstrator in May, French media say. This week Alexandre Benalla was exposed as the attacker shown on a video of the assault taken by a protester. The officers are suspected of releasing security images to Mr Benalla to try to prove his innocence, the reports say. The French presidency has been accused of failing to act swiftly against him. Interior Minister…

Ukraine crisis: US to give Kiev $200m in defence support

The US has announced it will give Ukraine $200m (£152m) to strengthen its defence capabilities. In a statement, the Pentagon said the funds would be for training, communications, medical, and other non-lethal operational needs. The US said it had given more than $1bn in defence support to Kiev since 2014. Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula that year, and is also accused of arming separatists in the east of the country. Eastern Ukraine conflict: A new, bloody chapter Ukraine country profile More than 10,000 people have been killed in the…

Polish judges law: MPs back further changes amid row

Poland’s lower house of parliament has approved further laws to reform the judiciary – a move that critics say threatens democracy. The changes backed by the Sejm make it easier to replace the Supreme Court Chief Justice Malgorzata Gersdorf. Earlier this month, Prof Gersdorf had refused to step down, rejecting a controversial law forcing senior judges to retire early. Poland’s Senate is expected to easily back the changes in the coming days. The proposals then need to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the governing conservative Law…

Russia fears spies have leaked hypersonic missile secrets to West

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided a space research facility after a suspected leak of hypersonic missile secrets to Western spies. The state space agency Roskosmos said its security staff were co-operating with FSB officers on a criminal case. Russia’s Kommersant daily says about 10 staff at a Roskosmos facility called TsNIIMash are under suspicion. A director’s office was searched. On Thursday Russia released video of new hypersonic missile systems. « It was established that the leak came from a TsNIIMash employee, » a source told Kommersant. TsNIIMash is…

Trump Putin: Incredulity as Russian leader is invited to visit US

Media playback is unsupported on your device President Donald Trump has invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to visit America, in a move that drew startled laughter from a US intelligence chief. « That’s gonna be special! » said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, when he was told about the invitation during a live interview. A row is continuing over Mr Trump’s first summit with Mr Putin, in Helsinki, where they talked privately. Opposition Democrats say there should be no more one-to-one talks. Your toolkit to help understand the story…

UK PM to say Brexit plan will deliver for NI

The UK’s new Brexit plan agreed at Chequers will deliver for Northern Ireland, the prime minister is expected to say in a speech on Friday. Theresa May will give the address at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Friday morning. It forms part of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland focussing on Brexit and the stalemate at Stormont. The Brexit negotiations are at a crucial stage, with the Irish border being a key sticking point. The UK and EU have both agreed that there should be no hard border in Ireland after…

Macron aide Benalla in French probe for beating protester

French prosecutors are investigating a senior presidential aide, who attacked protesters in Paris while wearing a police visor. Alexandre Benalla, an assistant to President Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff, was filmed targeting a woman and a man during May Day protests. He was caught on video by a student activist and left the scene once challenged on camera. He was identified from the video by French newspaper Le Monde. The incident happened in a popular tourist spot at Place de la Contrescarpe in the fifth district of Paris. The original…

New UK Brexit secretary set for Brussels talks

The UK’s new Brexit secretary will hold his first talks with the EU’s chief negotiator in Brussels later. Dominic Raab was appointed when David Davis resigned in protest at Theresa May’s plans for post-Brexit trade. It now falls to Mr Raab – part of the winning Leave campaign in the 2016 EU referendum – to continue negotiations with the EU’s Michel Barnier. Their meeting comes as the European Commission is instructing other EU states to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The BBC has seen a draft of a commission paper…

Turkey ends state of emergency after two years

The Turkish government has ended the nationwide state of emergency that was imposed two years ago after a failed coup attempt, state media say. Under the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs. However the government has decided against extending it again after seven three-month renewals. The decision comes weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election. During the campaign, opposition candidates said that the first thing they would do if they won would be to end the state of emergency. More…

Google braced for giant Android fine from EU

Google will learn if it faces a record fine over its Android operating system in the coming hours. The European Commission has claimed the US tech giant’s mobile device strategy unfairly strengthened its dominance of search. The regulator can fine the firm up to 10% of its annual revenue – which amounts to $11.1bn (£8.5bn). It could also force Google to unbundle Android from its Chrome browser and other services. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has previously ordered the firm to pay a 2.4bn euro ($2.8bn; £2.1bn) fine over its shopping…

Spain sexual consent: PM Pedro Sanchez promises new law

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has told parliament that his centre-left government will introduce a new law on sexual consent to remove ambiguities in rape cases. Announcing the measure, he said that sex without explicit consent would be considered rape. The law would be similar to one that came into force in Sweden this month. It follows a notorious sex attack on a woman during the famous San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona. In a case that caused outrage across Spain, five men who called themselves « the wolf pack…

ECHR condemns Pussy Riot and Anna Politkovskaya cases

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Russia for its handling of two high-profile cases. It said Russia had violated five articles of the human rights convention in its arrest and conviction of Pussy Riot members in 2012. Three women from the activist group were arrested after performing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral. Separately, the ECHR also heavily criticised the investigation into journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s murder. Politkovskaya was shot dead in a lift in her block of flats in 2006. Five men were found guilty of…

France’s World Cup team given heroes’ welcome in Paris

Media playback is unsupported on your device France’s victorious football team has paraded the World Cup before hundreds of thousands of fans in Paris. Jubilant crowds lined the capital’s main artery, the Champs-Elysées, to greet the team’s open-top bus. Jets saluted the players and the coach overhead, trailing smoke in French red, white and blue. The team was then honoured with an official reception by President Emmanuel Macron. France beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow on Sunday. It is France’s second World Cup win, following their triumph in…

EU to sign its biggest free trade deal with Japan

The European Union and Japan will sign one of the world’s biggest free trade deals later on Tuesday. The move will create an open trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP and 600 million people. One of the biggest EU exports to Japan is dairy goods, while cars are one of Japan’s biggest exports. The move is in sharp contrast to the stance taken by the Trump administration in the US, which has introduced steep import tariffs. The US was in talks with Japan and other Asian…

Helsinki summit: Trump says no reason for Russia to meddle

US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election. After a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote. Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs. The two men held nearly two hours of face-to-face talks in Helsinki on Monday. Source: BBC

France’s top honour for World Cup team

France’s victorious World Cup team is to receive the country’s highest accolade, the Légion d’Honneur, the French presidency has announced. France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the football final in Moscow on Sunday – its second World Cup win in 20 years. Crowds of fans lined the Champs-Elysées in central Paris to give the team a heroes’ welcome. The players will be honoured with a parade on the capital’s main artery and a presidential reception. The World Cup winners, who have now landed back in Paris, will take an open-top bus…

Trump-Putin summit: US leader cautious ahead of Helsinki talks

US President Donald Trump will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, ending a tumultuous European tour in which he criticised his allies. Mr Trump said he had « low expectations » ahead of the talks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, but added that « maybe some good » would come of them. The highly anticipated meeting comes after 12 Russians were charged with hacking in the 2016 US elections. Mr Trump says he will raise the issue, but the summit has no formal agenda. There have been calls…

Donald Trump: European Union is a foe on trade

Media playback is unsupported on your device US President Donald Trump has described the European Union as a foe on trade. He told CBS News that European countries were taking advantage of the US and not paying their Nato bills. EU Council President Donald Tusk said anyone calling the EU foes was spreading « fake news ». Mr Trump said he had « low expectations » for his meeting on Monday with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, which comes after 12 Russians were indicted for alleged hacking during 2016 US elections. Mr…

Iran nuclear deal: US rejects EU plea for sanctions exemption

The US has rebuffed high-level pleas from the European Union to grant exemptions to European companies from its sanctions against Iran. In a letter to European nations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US rejected the appeal because it wants to exert maximum pressure on Iran. It said exemptions would only be made if they benefited US national security. The EU fears that billions of dollars’ worth of trade could be jeopardised as a result of Washington’s new sanctions. « We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on…

Trump criticises Obama over US 2016 election hack

US President Donald Trump has criticised the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama over alleged Russian hacking to help him win the 2016 presidential election. « Why didn’t they do something about it? » he tweeted, adding that Mr Obama had been told about it before the vote. It follows pressure on Mr Trump to cancel Monday’s talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin following the indictment of 12 Russians on Friday. Russia denies allegations of hacking. Mr Trump is due to meet Mr Putin in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Skip Twitter…

Dozens hurt as Ryanair flight loses cabin pressure

More than 30 Ryanair passengers, some bleeding from their ears, have received hospital treatment in Germany after their plane to Croatia lost cabin pressure, German police say. Flight FR7312 from Dublin to Zadar made an emergency landing in Frankfurt. The airline said oxygen masks were deployed and the crew carried out a « controlled descent ». The plane descended 8,000m (26,000ft) from 11,300m to 3,000m in seven minutes, according to Flight Radar. Passenger Miomir Todorovic tweeted a photo of the interior of the cabin as the plane lost altitude. Ryanair…

White House: Trump-Putin summit ‘is on’ after hacking indictment

A summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will go ahead as planned despite tension over Moscow’s alleged election meddling, the White House says. The pair will meet for talks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, on Monday. « It’s on, » White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. But there are calls for the meeting to be cancelled after the US charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with election interference on Friday. For its part, Russia said it was looking forawrd to the meeting. « We consider…

Donald Trump: US-UK relationship is ‘highest level of special’

Media playback is unsupported on your device President Donald Trump has insisted the US-UK relationship is « the highest level of special », just hours after his comments attacking Theresa May’s Brexit plan emerged. Speaking alongside the PM, Mr Trump said « whatever » the UK does after it leaves the EU is « OK with me » and Brexit was an « incredible opportunity ». Mrs May said they had discussed plans for an « ambitious » trade agreement. Thousands of people are protesting in central London against the…

EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker stumbled ‘in sciatica attack’

Media playback is unsupported on your device The European Commission says its president Jean-Claude Juncker is taking medication for acute leg pain which made him stumble during a Nato summit – and it insists that he was not drunk. It was « a particularly painful attack of sciatica, accompanied by cramps ». Mr Juncker, 63, was filmed by news agency AP struggling to keep his balance before a gala dinner in Brussels on Wednesday. Looking wobbly, he was helped by the Dutch and Portuguese leaders. When a reporter asked if…

Trump: Brexit plan ‘will probably kill’ US trade deal

Media playback is unsupported on your device Donald Trump has said the UK will « probably not » get a trade deal with the US, if the prime minister’s Brexit plan goes ahead. He told The Sun the PM’s plan would « probably kill the deal » as it would mean the US « would be dealing with the European Union » instead of with the UK. Theresa May has been making the case for a US free trade deal with Mr Trump, on his first UK visit as president.…

Carles Puigdemont: Ousted Catalonia leader faces extradition to Spain

The former Catalan president living in exile can be extradited to Spain, a German court has ruled. Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium days after the region’s abortive declaration of independence from Spain in October and was eventually arrested in Germany. The German court approved his extradition to face Spanish charges of misuse of public funds but not the graver charge of rebellion. German prosecutors must now decide on whether he will be handed over. They have already indicated they will extradite him. Mr Puigdemont pledged: « We will fight until…

Trump: Nato states to increase defence funding

US President Donald Trump says Nato countries have agreed to increase their military spending. Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets. The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the US pays more than others. After the meeting, he said he believed in Nato and it was « presently unnecessary » to consider quitting it. « We made a tremendous amount of progress today, » he said. « It has…

Italy accuses migrants of hijacking rescue ship off Libya

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has accused some migrants of hijacking the ship that rescued them off the Libyan coast. It is alleged that in order to avoid being returned to Libya, at least two passengers forced the ship to turn away from the inbound Libyan coastguard. The 67 passengers were eventually handed over to the Italian coastguard. Mr Salvini called two suspects « violent hijackers, who will have to get off the Diciotti ship in handcuffs ». Details of the incident remain unclear, but Italian media report that police…

Brexit: UK’s blueprint for future EU relations to be published

A long-awaited blueprint for the UK’s relations with the EU will be published later, with ministers vowing to deliver a « practical and principled » Brexit. The « comprehensive vision » for future trade and co-operation is aimed at ensuring global trade deals and no hard border in Northern Ireland. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said it would respect the result of the 2016 Brexit vote and address business needs. The EU’s chief negotiator has insisted the proposals must be workable. The UK is set to leave the EU on 29…