BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States has informed Germany that it plans to impose sanctions on a Russian pipeline laying vessel involved in the construction of the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday.
“We record the announcement with regret,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Economy in Berlin.
German business daily Handelsblatt previously reported US sanctions will take effect on Tuesday as part of the Act Against America’s Enemies Through Sanctions (CAATSA).
It said sanctions would be imposed on the Russian pipeline laying ship “Fortuna” and its owner, KVT-RUS.
Nord Stream 2, designed to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream subsea gas pipeline, will pass through Ukraine, eliminating lucrative transit costs. The project has become a point of contention between Moscow and Washington, with the United States seeking to cut Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.
The group behind the pipeline suspended work in December 2019 due to threats of sanctions from Washington, even though the project was nearing completion.
Germany and European allies accuse Washington of using the newly introduced CAATSA sanctions regime to interfere with their foreign and energy policies.
According to Refinitiv ship tracking data, Fortuna is still anchored in the Baltic Sea near Rostock in northern Germany.
A spokesman for the US embassy in Berlin told Handelsblatt that Washington would continue to take “all necessary and appropriate steps” to prevent Nord Stream 2.
“Although we do not comment on future sanctions measures, we will continue to exchange ideas with allies and partners on potential sanctions issues,” the spokesman said.
The US government hopes Germany will reconsider its position on Nord Stream 2, he added.
The US State Department said it was not reviewing possible sanctions action and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A German government spokesman told reporters earlier on Monday that Berlin’s view of the pipeline remains unchanged, namely that Nord Stream 2 is a private sector project.
Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom is implementing the project together with Western partners Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, OMV and Shell.
US President-elect Joe Biden has opposed Nord Stream 2 in the past, but it is unclear if he can compromise on the issue after taking office on Wednesday.
Handelsblatt quoted a spokesperson for Nord Stream 2 as saying that it is up to the European Union and governments in the countries involved to protect the company from any sanctions.
Gazprom declined to comment and Nord Stream 2 could not immediately be reached for comment. KVT-RUS could not be reached for comment.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Edited by Maria Sheahan, Peter Graff and Catherine Evans
Trucks belonging to a British clam company have taken to Parliament to protest the bureaucracy of Brexit which they claim is choking their business.
By JILL LAWLESS Associated Press
18 January 2021, 16:16
• 3 minutes reading
LONDON – Trucks belonging to a British shellfish company took to the British Parliament on Monday to protest Brexithe related bureaucracy they claim is choking their business.
More than a dozen large trucks – one of which reads “Brexit massacre!” – drive past Parliament House in central London and park off Downing Street, home to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Police spoke to the driver, who could face fines for violating coronavirus restrictions by taking non-essential travel.
The British fishing community is among the strongest supporters of leaving the European Union, as it promises Britain an opportunity to leave the bloc’s complex fishing quota system and regain control over who is allowed to fish in British waters.
But now some of the UK fishing industry say they are facing devastation by new barriers to shipping their catch overseas. Last week, a Scottish fishing boss threatened to dump his rotten catch at politicians’ doors if the situation did not improve.
Fishing rights have become a pivotal point in trade negotiations following Britain’s exit from the bloc in January 2020, when European nations have sought to maintain access to the waters in which they have been fishing for decades or even centuries.
Under the new UK-EU post-Brexit trade agreement signed last month, the EU’s share of the catch in UK seas will be cut by 25% over the 5½ year transition period. After that, the new quota must be negotiated.
At the same time, Britain’s exit from the EU means new costs and bureaucracy for exporters – a big problem, as Britain exports most of the fish caught on its ships.
Some fishing companies say the new restrictions have made it impossible to ship their catch to Europe. Some British fishermen have started landing their catch in EU member Denmark to deposit it on the block.
“If this disaster doesn’t get better soon, we will see a lot of established businesses coming to an end,” said Alasdair Hughson, chairman of the Scottish Kreel Fishermen’s Federation.
“From the seabed to the plate, this is not an easy business. People put their hearts and souls into making it work, the long hours worked, “he added.
Johnson called the problem a “teething problem” and promised to compensate the company for the harm caused by “bureaucratic delays.”
But he also claimed fish company problems were partly due to restaurant closings during the coronavirus pandemic. And he said, “There is a great opportunity for fishermen across the UK to take advantage of this spectacular marine wealth great Britain. “
Fishing isn’t the only part of the UK economy that’s experiencing a bumpy start to 2021 because of it Brexi.
A trade agreement that goes into effect January 1 allows the UK and EU to trade goods without quotas or tariffs. But it was far from the smooth and hassle-free trade that Britain enjoyed when it was part of the single EU market. Companies face customs declarations, border checks and other obstacles as they ship goods to and from the block. The change has led to a shortage of some items on supermarket shelves as companies reduce the number and quantity of deliveries they make.
Follow all AP’s stories on Brexit developments at https://apnews.com/Brexit.
The British government has informed India of the fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya cannot be extradited until the “secret legal issues” associated with it are resolved, the Center told the Supreme Court on Monday, reporting Hindu.
On the two previous occasions at October and November also, the Center has notified the Supreme Court of pending trials in the UK. During Monday’s hearing, Attorney General Tushar Mehta submitted a letter from the foreign ministry, explaining the British government’s communications on the matter, according to the PTI.
The letter quoted the British government as saying there were “further legal issues” that had to be resolved before Mallya could be extradited, Hindu reported. However, the British government declined to provide details of the process or reveal how long it would take to resolve the issue.
However, Britain has assured that it is “trying to deal with this matter as quickly as possible”, according to a letter from the foreign ministry. Mehta also said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was doing its best, but Mallya’s status remains the same today, reports PTI.
The Panel of Judges of the Lalit Law and Ashok Bhushan are hearing the case of insult in which Mallya was found guilty. On August 31, 2020, the Supreme Court directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that Mallya was present before him on October 5 last year. It also rejected Mallya’s plea calling for a reconsideration of a 2017 ruling that left her guilty of insulting transfer of $ 40 million to her children in violation of a court order.
However, on October 5, Center has said it is not aware of the ongoing secret process against Mallya in the UK because the Indian government is not a party to the process. Then in November, the Center reiterated that extradition was postponed due to “secret legal matters”. The court then asked the Center to file a status report on the matter. On Monday, the court posted its next trial for the humiliation case on March 15, after Mehta requested time to file another report on Mallya’s extradition status.
The liquor baron, who fought it extradition to India, is facing charges of fraud and money laundering in a bank loan default of more than Rs 9,000 crore as a result of the collapse of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya has repeatedly denied the charges against him and offered to repay 100% of the amount borrowed by Kingfisher Airlines, but neither the bank nor the Enforcement Directorate were willing to accept the offer. He also claimed that the charges against him were related to borrowing only Rs 900 crore.
London, England – When the pandemic hit Britain in March last year, Peter was not too worried about catching COVID.
“I am healthy and closely following the restrictions,” he told Al Jazeera from his home in Sussex, a southeastern district.
The 55-year-old social worker said he had not been to a doctor in 20 years and had only had a few sick days in his 35 years of work.
But in early April, he came in with flu-like symptoms and his health quickly deteriorated.
Within days, it became increasingly difficult for him to breathe. More than a week after her symptoms struck, she was tied to an ambulance for the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
“Everything is moving very fast. It’s not real. “It was like I was putting myself down, like watching someone on TV through it,” he said.
At 5pm he was rushed to a crowded emergency room and at midnight he was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Peter and none of the patients around were able to breathe on their own, relying on the tube in their throat to pump oxygen to their lungs from the ventilator.
“I can only deal with it because the staff is very understanding. They try all the time to keep me calm, “he said.
Every morning and evening, doctors and nurses provide updated information about her health and the next steps for her treatment.
His wife is unable to visit him due to Covid restrictions but they talk on the phone every day. She would then remember how she spoke “nonsense” during their conversation, which she now only remembers vaguely.
Five days later, he was discharged, weighing 13 kg lighter because he completely lost his appetite.
“I’m lucky the virus didn’t reach more dangerous levels before I went to hospital,” he said. “Not too late.”
Compared to when Peter went to ICU during the spike in first cases in April, the UK’s COVID-related hospital admissions have increased 62 per cent.
The country currently has more than 30,000 COVID patients in hospitals.
On January 4, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another national lockdown on Britain, closing schools and asking residents to stay home for all but some necessary reason, as a new, more contagious variant is gripping parts of Britain.
“This variant is not controlled by the measures that were in place before Christmas,” said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, describing the mutation as “very worrying” for the UK and Europe. , which is already spreading.
“While there are some encouraging signs that the increase in infections may not change, the virus is still circulating at very high levels,” he said.
The seven-day average number of new cases has decreased, with the figure now to 48,565 compared with 59,652 in the previous week.
McKee blamed the latest spike on “a series of failures by the government”.
“They have consistently postponed implementing measures that were clearly needed, which allowed the virus to get out of control.”
Dr Charlotte Summers, 46, ICU consultant at Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, works 17-hour shifts in full PPE, making work “tiring, hotter and slower”.
He believes a July report by the Academy of Sciences outlining challenges ahead and steps to mitigate the crisis was “not being properly attended to” by the government.
Summers, a member of the Intensive Care Society, a charity that supports ICU staff in the UK, divides his time between researching COVID care and working in hospitals. One day he was doing laboratory experiments using a human cell model and the next day he was treating ICU patients.
The ICU, where the average death rate has been 40 percent during the pandemic in Britain, is an “emotionally challenging environment” Summers told Al Jazeera. “This is unlike anything you’ve seen before.
“Is it sad sometimes? Yes. Am I crying over it? Yes. Anyone who tells you they have not been touched by a terrible pandemic is dishonest. When we stop being moved by what we see, we stop being human.
“I see patients who are my age and have no other disease that we can find. The idea that only the elderly are weak and that no one else should worry is just not true. “
Britain has the world’s second highest number of deaths from the virus per million people in the past seven days, after the Czech Republic. As of January 16, 88,747 people have died from the virus in the UK.
Challenges for the NHS
The increasing number of patients being treated coupled with longer periods of hospital stays pushed the NHS to the brink.
Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty wrote in the Sunday Telegraph on January 10 that the NHS is facing “the most dangerous situation in living memory”.
Several hospitals are currently overwhelmed.
“It’s likely we will see a major crisis [in the health service] in several parts of the country, ”said McKee.
Addenbrooke Hospital currently provides 200 percent more ICU beds than before the pandemic. Summers said they have turned patients away from intensive care.
“Not because we have a lot of capacity. We have turned another area of the hospital into an ICU. We are expanding our resources thinner and using staff from other sections to cope. Of course it has a big impact on other services, “he said.
Peter’s hospital departure is far from the end of his battle with COVID.
For more than a month, he struggled to breathe regularly, battled severe fatigue and mental health problems.
His anxiety was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“I was able to deal with stress before without needing treatment and I have experienced trauma,” he said. “It’s like a button flicking in my head.”
Falling asleep was often impossible and some nights he slept only one hour.
It wasn’t until September, five months after her symptoms started, that she was able to return to her job in full.
Even today, the feeling of prolonged fatigue makes him have to rest while working.
He’s not alone.
According to the Office for National Statistics, one in 10 people with COVID develops symptoms for 12 weeks or more. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to develop mood disorders or anxiety.
But on Tuesday, Peter will join the 2.33 million people across the UK who have received their first dose of the COVID vaccination.
For him, like millions across the country, receiving the jab seemed to mark a step toward returning to normal life.
“I would feel much safer, especially knowing that people can catch the virus twice.”
LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union needs a “master plan” to move euro financial services from London to the bloc if it is to expand the role of the single currency in a global economy dominated by the US dollar, a senior EU lawmaker said Monday.
Markus Ferber, a senior member of the European Parliament, said if the EU is to compete with the greenback, it needs an appropriate financial system.
“We need a clear step-by-step master plan that helps major financial sector businesses move from the UK to the European Union,” said Ferber.
He was speaking ahead of the publication of a European Commission paper on Wednesday on promoting the global role of the euro that sets out how to reduce dependence on the City of London, Europe’s biggest financial center, after Brexit.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted vulnerabilities in the dollar-dominated international financial system,” said the commission paper.
“Britain’s withdrawal from the EU reinforces the need to further deepen the Union’s capital markets.”
This paper recommends better enforcement of EU sanctions, and makes EU-based financial market infrastructure less vulnerable to unilateral sanctions from third countries.
EU-based securities depository Clearstream and Euroclear, and messaging services such as Swift were affected by President Donald Trump’s actions against Iran.
Trading in euro-denominated debt securities, commodities and other instruments should also be encouraged, the paper said.
The EU’s “MiFID” securities reform and benchmark rules should aim to help the euro-denominated energy index emerge, and increase the attractiveness of euro bonds and stocks, he said.
EU and European Central Bank executives will also review the policy, legal and technical issues arising from the possibility of a digital euro.
The Commission, ECB and the bloc’s market and banking watchdog will work with industry to assess “possible technical issues” associated with the shift in derivatives positions from London to the EU, the paper said.
This paper may minimize the likelihood that the EU will provide UK financial services access to the EU beyond the temporary access it has granted to derivatives clarifiers by mid-2022.
About 6.5 billion in euro stock trading switched from London to the bloc overnight on January 4 and city officials do not expect this to return, with swap trading by EU investors also under pressure to leave.
“A related source of risk is the excessive reliance of EU banks on the foreign currency exchange market,” the paper said.
When looking at company takeovers, the Commission will also check whether they make EU companies “more vulnerable” to comply with sanctions from third countries, the paper said.
There was also a need to cut the bloc’s “over-reliance” on foreign investment banks and foreign currency funding, he said.