Everyone is on the wrong side of the world population trade

The great problem of the 21st century isn’t too many babies, it’s too few

We’ve been programmed for hundreds of years to worry about overpopulation. But like all trades, once it gets too crowded, it reverses.

That’s what’s slowly happening in global population. It continues to rise because of high birth rates in the poorest countries in the world but it’s turning and developed countries are leading the way.

Look at the chart this week in the FT. It shows the collapse of South Korea’s birth rate. It’s fallen almost 25% in four years and is now below 1. That means that unless the trend reverses, the population of the country will be halved in a lifetime and will begin to decline as soon as 2028.

South Korea fertility

In the US, the rate is 1.77, in Japan it’s 1.43.

The world leader is Niger at 7.2 with half the country now under the age of 15. That’s followed by Somalia at 6.1 but if falls off quickly from there and is inversely correlated to wealth. The median country is Tunisia at 2.1 which is the replacement rate. That means half the countries in the world will have negative population growth soon excluding immigration.

Even the big population countries — China and India — are no longer tailwinds. India is at 2.3 and China is down to 1.6 despite the end of the one-child policy, a telling trend.

It’s not just richer countries where the birth rate is falling. Puerto Rico is at just 1.1, Poland and Ukraine both at 1.3 and Brazil at 1.7.

The changes in these countries have been shockingly quick. In 1970 Brazil was at 5. Mexico is at 2.2 now compared to 6.8 in 1970.

Governments are beginning to take notice. There is increasing pressure to improve childcare and benefits but there has been a cultural shift in many places against having children. I believe that governments will be paying people significant sums to have children within a decade.

Italy is particularly rough shape due to years of a low birth rate. A draft budget from the current government planned to offer state-held agricultural land rent-free for 20 years to anyone who had a third child. They were also offered zero-interest loans to buy a home.


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Euro falls below $1.10 to lowest since May 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The euro () fell below $ 1.10 on Friday to its weakest since May 2017 as a multi-day downward shift in the single currency intensified.

Traders had varied explanations for the drop, including a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he said the euro was dropping “like crazy” and lamented the strength of the U.S. dollar, attributing the trend to Federal Reserve policy.

Others argued that the move came as traders closed out their books for the end of the month, heightening an existing bias.

The euro was last trading at $ 1.0990 against the dollar, down 0.61% on the day.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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China – official PMIs for August. Manufacturing 49.5 (exp. 49.6), Services 53.8 (exp. 53.7)

Purchasing Managers’ Index data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics published on Saturday.

Manufacturing 49.5

  • expected 49.6, prior 49.7
  • in contraction for the fourth consecutive month
  • trade wars and slower domestic demand persistent negatives
  • Xinhua (state media in China) report the NBS saying “demand moderated amid a complex economic environment”

Services 53.8

  • expected 53.7, prior 53.7
  • first improvement for this for five months and at odds with domestic demand pressures seen reflected in the manufacturing PMI

Composite 53.0

  • prior 53.1

So, a bit of a mix here. Services holding up. 

The privately surveyed PMIs (Caixin/Markit) will be published from Monday (the manufacturing PMI is Monday, services and composite follow on Wednesday). 

Purchasing Managers' Index data from China's National Bureau of Statistics published on Saturday.


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Google finds ‘indiscriminate iPhone attack lasting years’

Security researchers at Google have found evidence of a “sustained effort” to hack iPhones over a period of at least two years.

The attack was said to be carried out using websites which would discreetly implant malicious software to gather contacts, images and other data.

Google’s analysis suggested the booby-trapped websites were said to have been visited thousands of times per week.

Apple told the BBC it did not wish to comment.

The attack was shared in great detail in a series of technical posts written by British cybersecurity expert Ian Beer, a member of Project Zero, Google’s taskforce for finding new security vulnerabilities, known as zero days.

“There was no target discrimination,” Mr Beer wrote.

“Simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant.”

Mr Beer and his team said they discovered attackers were using 12 separate security flaws in order to compromise devices. Most were bugs within Safari, the default web browser on Apple products.

‘Sustained effort’

Once on a person’s iPhone, the implant could access an enormous amount of data, including (though not limited to) contacts, images and GPS location data. It would relay this information back to an external server every 60 seconds, Mr Beer noted.

The implant also was able to scoop up data from apps a person was using, such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram. Mr Beer’s list of examples also included Google products such as Gmail and Hangouts, the firm’s group video chat app.

The attackers were able to exploit “almost every version from iOS 10 through to the latest version of iOS 12”, Mr Beer added.

“This indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.”

Are you protected?

Apple issued a software fix to address the flaw back in February.

If you are an iPhone user, you should make sure your device is running the latest version of iOS, to make sure you are protected.

To do this, go to Settings and tap General. Under ‘Software Update’ you should be running iOS 12.4.1.

If you are not running iOS 12.4.1 you will be given the opportunity to update your device.

Apple’s fix

Google’s team notified Apple of the vulnerabilities on 1 February this year. A patch was subsequently released six days later to close the vulnerability. Apple’s patch notes refer to fixing an issue whereby “an application may be able to gain elevated privileges” and “an application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

iPhone users should update their device to the latest software to make sure they are adequately protected.

Unlike some security disclosures, which offer merely theoretical uses of vulnerabilities, Google discovered this attack “in the wild” – in other words, it was in use by cybercriminals.

Mr Beer’s analysis did not speculate on who may be behind the attack, nor how lucrative the tool may have been on the black market. Some “zero day” attacks can be sold for several millions dollars – until they’re discovered and fixed.


Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Do you have more information about this or any other technology story? You can reach Dave directly and securely through encrypted messaging app Signal on: +1 (628) 400-7370

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Lawsuit over faulty background check allowed to proceed

Shooting victims’ families on forgiveness

A lawsuit over a faulty background check that allowed a South Carolina man to buy the gun he used to kill nine people at AME Emanuel Church in Charleston was reinstated Friday by a federal appeals court. The three-judge panel reversed a ruling from a lower court judge who threw out the claims brought by relatives of people killed by Dylann Roof in the 2015 massacre and by survivors.

The 4th Circuit panel found that an examiner who conducted the background check on Roof failed to follow a mandatory procedure when she did not contact the arresting agency.

The ruling means the lawsuit can move forward.

Trending News

The FBI acknowledged that Roof’s drug possession arrest in Columbia, South Carolina — weeks before the shooting — should have prevented him from buying a gun. Roof has been sentenced to death for the slayings.

A series of clerical errors and missteps allowed Roof to buy the handgun he later used in the massacre.

In his ruling last year, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said a jail clerk wrongly listed the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office as the arresting agency in the drug case. The examiner then sent a fax to the sheriff’s office, which responded that it did not have the arrest report and directed her to Columbia police.

Gergel said that under the system’s operating procedures, the examiner was directed to a federal listing of law enforcement agencies, but Columbia police did not appear on the list. After trying the separate West Columbia Police Department and being told it was the wrong agency, the examiner did nothing more.

After a three-day waiting period, Roof went back to a West Columbia store to pick up the handgun.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling.

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U.S. – CBSNews.com

Euro Falls to Two-Year Low Amid Trade Concerns, Trump Ire

(Bloomberg) — The euro sank below $ 1.10 for the first time since May 2017 amid low liquidity on a late-summer trading session.

The common currency lost as much as 0.7% against the U.S. dollar, getting as low as $ 1.0976. The selloff picked up dramatically around 11 a.m. in New York as London closed for the month and after currency options expired.

With U.S. markets shut Monday for Labor Day, traders may be hesitant to hold big positions going into the long weekend. And that’s especially true with new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports poised to take effect Sunday as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies rages on.

“The direction of travel for world trade-industrial production is still heading south — which is a euro negative,” Chris Turner, a foreign-exchange strategist at ING Groep (AS:) NV, said in an email.

The euro remained weak in early afternoon trading, setting a fresh daily low of $ 1.0976 at 1:02 p.m. in New York.

The common currency tumbled even after U.S. President Donald Trump complained Friday, yet again, about the dollar’s strength and the euro’s weakness, which makes American exports less competitive. Meanwhile, Italian bonds fell as the country’s political crisis took another twist with officials clashing as they attempted to form a new ruling coalition.

This comes at a time when European Central Bank staff are working on a stimulus proposal for policy makers to consider at their Sept. 12 meeting, amid rising expectations the institution will cut interest rates further below zero and consider fresh asset purchases.

Traders also executed stop orders Friday to sell the euro as it weakened, helping to accelerate the move lower.

Brad Bechtel, a strategist at Jefferies, said there were stops through the prior August lows and then again through $ 1.1000. Traders execute stop orders at predetermined levels to curb losses.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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ForexLive Americas FX news wrap: Euro falls to the lowest since 2017

Forex news for Americas trading on August 30, 2019:


  • Gold down $ 4 to $ 1523
  • WTI crude down $ 1.64 to $ 55.08
  • US 10-year yields flat at 1.49%
  • S&P 500 flat at 2924
  • JPY leads, EUR lags

The month wrapped up with the euro falling below the August low and through 1.1000 for the first time since 2017. Trump was even tweeting about the euro but it’s not about ECB action, it’s a poor economy and some fresh political risks in Italy.

Cable made a run to 1.2225 early but USD strength ahead of the long weekend cut it down to 1.2160. There are all kinds of political worries and the ball gets rolling on Tuesday when parliament returns.

USD/JPY traded in the 106.10 to 106.45 range and finished in the middle. After a dump at the start of the month there have been some forays lower but we finish right in the middle of the range over the past three weeks.

USD/CAD was a big mover as it fell hard hitting 1.3250 on strong GDP headlines but the details of the data showed a soft consumer and weak business investment. That, combined with USD strength and oil weakness sparked a total reversal to 1.3318 and the highest close since Aug 19.

The kiwi continued to struggle and hit a fresh low since 2015 at 0.6283. The Aussie was more resilient but holding the lows isn’t exactly a win after the rout in AUD/USD in the past six weeks.

Forex news for Americas trading on August 30, 2019:

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Dorian expected to be “extremely dangerous” as it heads for U.S.

Hurricane Dorian on track to strike Florida as a Category 4 storm

Hurricane Dorian fast facts:

  • Dorian has strengthened to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
  • Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane Friday and remain extremely dangerous through the weekend.
  • Dorian is on track to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday, possibly as a powerful Category 4 and likely over Florida.

Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 2 storm Thursday night. It’s expected to intensify into a Category 3 hurricane Friday and stay at least that strong as it makes its way to the U.S. mainland, the National Hurricane Center said.

“Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend,” the center said.

There’s a good chance Dorian will power its way into a Category 4 with potentially catastrophic 140 mph winds before making landfall on the mainland U.S., the center added, according to CBS News weather producer David Parkinson.

Trending News

He said Dorian would probably make landfall early Monday evening at the earliest and Tuesday morning at the latest, probably over the central Florida Atlantic coast though possibly farther south.

Florida residents rushed to supermarkets across the state to buy food and supplies.

The National Weather Service said Dorian could bring a “triple-threat of dangers” to the state, including a “life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds and heavy rains.” The center urged Floridians to “prepare NOW.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the state of emergency he’d already declared to cover all counties in the state and asked President Trump for a pre-landfall disaster declaration.

The government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern part of the chain.

Mr. Trump canceled a weekend visit to Poland to focus on the federal storm response.

“All indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big,” he said in a video he tweeted Thursday evening, comparing Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.

As of 11 a.m. EDT Friday, Dorian’s center was some 660 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, and about 480 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas as it headed northwest at 10 mph, the hurricane center said. Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.

Hurricane Dorian’s projected track as of 11 a.m. ET on August 30, 2019 NOAA

Follow our live coverage of the storm below:

It’s never too early to start preparing a hurricane kit

The National Weather Service is encouraging anyone in the path of the storm that it’s “never too early” to start preparing a hurricane kit.

CBS News has rounded up some emergency preparedness tips for people and pets, as well as a checklist of supplies to have on hand before a big storm arrives.

What supplies do you need to prepare for a hurricane?

Ahead of potentially devastating storms this hurricane season, the Red Cross recommends having the following supplies on hand:

  • Water: At least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food: At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Copies of personal documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, lease or deed to home)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Emergency blanket
  • Insect repellent and sunscreens
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Rain gear
“You need to overprepare”: Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal shares tips for surviving a hurricane

University of Miami to suspend classes until Wednesday

The University of Miami said it has canceled classes at the Coral Gables, marine and medical campuses beginning at noon on Friday, August 30 through Tuesday, September 3.

The university also said it is putting storm shutters in place and positioning sandbags near doorways at those three campuses.

Their emergency information hotline has been setup: 1-800-227-0354

Florida governor deploying National Guard troops

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted that he has activated more than 2,500 Florida National Guard troops as the state braces for Hurricane Dorian.

He added: “I encourage all Floridians to continue to monitor and heed all warnings.”

Trump posts video about “monster” Dorian

President Trump has posted a video on Twitter encouraging Florida residents to prepare for Hurricane Dorian as the government makes its own preparations.

In a video posted Thursday evening from the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said Dorian initially appeared to be a small storm, but has grown quickly over the past day.

Mr. Trump said: “It’s looking like it could be an absolute monster.”

Florida power company secures 13,000 workers

Florida Power and Light activated its emergency response team Thursday, securing nearly 13,000 workers to help restore power. The state’s largest power company also urged customers to prepare for possible power outages.

“We’re actively working with other utilities from across the United States to secure additional crews and equipment and pre-positioning resources in advance of the storm’s landfall, so we are ready to respond as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power and Light.

​Georgia declares state of emergency in 12 counties

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency for 12 counties along the state’s coastline. The declaration, which went into effect Thursday, frees up state resources and prohibits price gouging for goods and services.

Air Force evacuates aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base

The U.S. Air Force has begun evacuating KC-135 aircraft at the MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, CBS affiliate WTSP-TV reported. The planes were evacuated as a precaution and are expected to return when the storm passes. Officials do not expect to evacuate service members and staff from the facility.

“The safety of our service members, families, and aircraft are paramount,” said Colonel Stephen Snelson.

Rolling Stones reschedule Florida performance

Rolling Stones fans in South Florida will be able to get some satisfaction, just a day earlier than originally scheduled, CBS Miami reported. The Rolling Stones concert, scheduled for Saturday, August 31 at the Hard Rock Stadium, is being moved ahead to Friday night, August 30 because of the storm.

All tickets will be honored for the new date. Miami is the final stop on the Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” tour, which was already delayed once when Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery.

Kennedy Space Center prepares for Dorian

NASA civil servants and contractors at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are bracing for high winds and rain from Dorian. Ahead of the storm, they are securing rocket stages, spacecraft assembly areas and even hauling a 6.7-million-pound mobile launch tower, designed for the huge rocket being built for the Artemis moon program, back to the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building for safekeeping.

The 355-foot-tall gantry structure, carried atop a squat Apollo-era crawler-transporter, is scheduled to begin the 4.2-mile trip from launch complex 39B back to the protection of the VAB at dawn Friday — a journey that’s expected to take more than eight hours to complete.

The VAB was designed to withstand winds of 125 miles per hour without major damage. The highest wind ever recorded at NASA’s seaside launch pads during an earlier hurricane was around 115 mph.

— Bill Harwood

Trump cancels Poland trip ahead of the storm

President Trump on Thursday canceled his trip to Poland ahead of the storm. Mr. Trump made the announcement during a White House event launching the U.S. Space Command.

“To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm I have decided to send our vice president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place,” the president said. “It’s something very important for me to be here.”

Mr. Trump said he would reschedule his Poland trip for some point in the not-so-distant future.

Hurricane Dorian expected to hit Florida as Category 4 storm

​Residents stock up as others leave town

Some Florida residents are stockpiling supplies, while others are packing up and leaving the state ahead of the storm. The shelves were empty at one Publix in the city of Lake Worth

“We have three kids at home and a cat and just trying to prepare. We were very relaxed but everybody’s getting into it, so we wanted to make sure we got prepared,” resident Carrie Dorman told CBS Miami.

Others were making plans to leave. Tommy Ligorie and his daughter were trying to get back to New York, not wanting to stick around to see where Dorian ends up.

“Unfortunately I called this morning to see if we could get flights out and it was all booked up. And the flights I did find were unfortunately way high and we couldn’t afford it, so we have to take the route and driving back,” Ligorie said.

Hurricane Dorian
Shoppers stand in line waiting to check out at Costco ahead of Hurricane Dorian on August 29, 2019, in Davie, Florida. Brynn Anderson / AP

NASA captures images of Dorian from space

Video from the International Space Station shows the Category 1 storm around 1:05 p.m. ET as it moved across the Atlantic and north of Puerto Rico. The space station shared video on its official Twitter account Thursday.

— Peter Martinez

​83 flights within the U.S. canceled

Airlines have canceled 83 flights to, from and within the U.S., according to FlightAware.com. Seventy-eight flights were canceled Thursday and five have been canceled for Friday.

The number of cancellations should increase closer to Monday morning as Dorian makes landfall on Florida’s east coast. Expect flights to and from Orlando, Miami and other airports in that area to be most affected.

— Kris Van Cleave

​Florida governor declares state of emergency

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Thursday for all of the state’s 67 counties. On Wednesday, he declared a state of emergency only for counties that were expected to be in Dorian’s path.

DeSantis encouraged residents to gather seven days of supplies, including water, food and medicine. “If you’re in the path of this storm — anywhere on the east coast of Florida — make your preparations,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “Take action.”

DeSantis said people who live in the area where Dorian makes landfall should expect to lose power. “If you live in an area that experiences flooding, well, you’re looking at potential serious significant water and flooding because of this event, so prepare for that,” he said.

The governor urged people to listen to their local officials and follow any evacuation orders.

“Life-threatening flash floods” possible

The National Hurricane Center warned early Thursday that heavy rain from Dorian could cause “life-threatening flash floods” in parts of the Bahamas and southeastern U.S. coast.

The center forecast 2-4 inches of rain in some parts of the Bahamas, with six inches in isolated spots, and 4-8 inches with an upside of a foot in other areas of the Bahamas and coastal southeastern U.S.

CBS News weather producer David Parkinson pointed out that, “With a new supermoon and the angle the storm is approaching from, widespread coastal flooding, including severe coastal flooding is likely. In addition, as the storm is coming in for landfall, it looks like it might lose some of the steering currents,” slowing it down and resulting in even more rain.

Florida residents begin gathering supplies

Miami resident Lanada Means said she purchased plywood at Home Depot on Wednesday to begin preparing for the storm. “My daughter messages me on Instagram and asked me if I knew about the storm, and I didn’t, so I came here on my lunch break. Tomorrow is gonna be crazy,” she told CBS Miami.

Carol Brafman said she is buying enough supplies for five family members. “They come to my house because I have a generator,” she told CBS Miami. “We’ve been through [Hurricane] Andrew and the last one we went north to Carolina. It’s not easy. None of us know.”

Florida Prepares For The Arrival Of Hurricane Dorian
A resident fills gas cans in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on August 29, 2019 in Winter Springs, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty

— Justin Carissimo

Flooding and power outages in ​U.S. Virgin Islands

There were some reports of power outages and flooding in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra, the Associated Press reported. But Culebra Mayor William Solís said only one community lost power Wednesday.

“We’re happy because there are no damages to report,” Solís told the AP.

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. closed schools and government offices and issued a curfew from noon Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. “This means that only emergency responders and those providing essential services would be permitted on the road at this time,” he said in a statement. “We ask for the public’s full cooperation during this time.”

— Justin Carissimo

​80-year-old man dies in Bayamón

Puerto Rican police said an 80-year-old man died in Bayamón on Wednesday as he made preparations ahead of the storm, the Associated Press reported. The victim fell from the roof of his home after attempting to clear debris off of it.

— Justin Carissimo

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World – CBSNews.com

Brexit endgame: It’s PM Johnson vs parliament in historic showdown

By Kylie MacLellan and William James

LONDON (Reuters) – After more than 1,000 days of political brawling, hordes of headlines and dizzying lurches in sterling, the battle of Brexit enters the endgame.

Britain’s ancient parliament will next week host an historic showdown between Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who has vowed to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, “do or die” – and lawmakers who view themselves as the last bulwark against economic ruin.

Members of parliament, expected to include rebels from the ruling Conservatives, will try find the majority they need to either topple the government or change the law to prevent Britain withdrawing from the bloc without an exit deal.

They may have just days to stop Johnson, and are ready to use every piece of arcane parliamentary process at their disposal.

“We’re entering new political terrain in terms of parliamentary politics,” said Ruth Fox, director and head of research at pro-democracy charity the Hansard Society.

“Next week we could see an act of parliament the government doesn’t want, it may end up with a vote of no confidence in which Conservative MPs bring down their own government, or all the opposition’s plans could fall apart.”

Johnson, the face of Brexit for many Britons, has staked his political future on taking Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a deal to smooth the divorce between the world’s fifth-largest economy and its biggest trading partner.

His showdown with parliament will determine the course of Brexit – the United Kingdom’s most significant geopolitical decision since World War Two.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit chess game, it will go down in the history books of the Westminster parliament, which traces its history through the English Civil War and Norman Conquest to the ancient Witan of Anglo-Saxon England.

In a 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 52%, backed Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48%, backed staying in the trading bloc-cum-political project it has been a member of since 1973.

The result divided the population at every level, from the government cabinet table to the family dinner table, and the intervening three years have seen little reconciliation.

The current parliament, for decades defined by loyalties to either the center-right Conservatives or the center-left Labour Party, reflects those deep divisions, with a minority government in power and each party internally split over the right approach to Brexit.


When lawmakers return from their summer break on Sept. 3, those opposed to Johnson’s strategy, combining all rival parties and some Conservative rebels, have two main options to try to stop him: change the law, or change the government.

Johnson, a newly-appointed prime minister and Britain’s third since the Brexit vote, has dared this so-called “Remain Alliance” to try and stop him, and shown he is prepared to test the limits of his executive power to defeat their efforts.

On Wednesday, he sparked fury by announcing the suspension of parliament for more than a month between mid-September and mid-October, depriving parliament of debating time to put their plans into action – which his opponents decried as an assault on Britain’s constitutional integrity, and democracy itself.

“We won’t be dictated to anymore,” the opposition Labour Party’s second most powerful man, John McDonnell, said on Thursday. “Parliament now is reasserting the traditional centuries-old democratic rights of the people.”

Johnson denied any impropriety, saying it was in line with the conventions that allow him to set out his new political program, and insisting there would be time to debate Brexit.

The move has raised the stakes for his opponents, potentially giving them as few as four days in parliament to make their move before the legislature is suspended.

Of the two options at their disposal, the group favors trying to pass a new law that would probably require Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit.

The exact wording of the plan is being kept a closely guarded secret and could go much further, towards stopping Brexit altogether.

But the process, expected to begin next with a request for an emergency debate, is fraught with challenges.

It would require a helping hand from parliament’s Speaker John Bercow – who denounced Johnson’s move to suspend the assembly – to seize temporary control of the legislative process, as well as several days of parliamentary time, and total unity in order to win votes.

Johnson’s Conservatives govern with a working majority of just one seat in the 650-seat chamber thanks to the support of a small Northern Irish Party.

Scottish National Party lawmaker Joanna Cherry, who is also leading a court bid to determine the legality of suspending parliament, told Reuters she believed there were double figures of Conservatives willing to rebel against the government.

“They are going to be pivotal, we have got to get enough Tory (Conservative) rebels, not to bring down their government just to say to the government: you can’t have a no-deal Brexit.”

Johnson has an armory of parliamentary devices he can use to stall the process if needed, from jamming the timetable with immovable events to filibustering the legislation in parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords.

But, the once-unheard of process of passing a law against the government’s wishes has a recent precedent – earlier this year legislation demanding that Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May delay Brexit was successfully voted through.


The tortured process of seeking to deliver the result of the Brexit referendum has already repeatedly pitted parliament against the government, and parliament has often won.

Lawmakers have forced reluctant ministers to give them a vote to approve any exit deal, and to publish legal advice and official assessments of the impact a no-deal exit would have.

The battle has tested the limits of most lawmakers’ knowledge of parliamentary procedures and shown the difficulties of Britain having an uncodified constitution, which is largely upheld through convention and precedent, to the fore.

“People don’t really know what the rules are. There are competing versions of what is and what is not proper constitutional conduct,” said Andrew Blick, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History at King’s College London.

“We’re experiencing a real conflict between direct democracy as expressed in the referendum, and representative democracy.”

The ultimate test of that conflict could come in the shape of a move to topple Johnson’s government, initiated by Labour calling a vote of no confidence.

Labour say they will call one when they think they can win it, and want to use a 14-day period after the vote to install their leader Jeremy Corbyn as head of a temporary government with the purpose of delaying Brexit and calling an election.

That plan has already been rejected by parts of the Remain alliance, including some members of Corbyn’s own Labour Party, who say his far-left politics are too divisive to lead a cross-party government and his opposition to Brexit has been too weak.

Even if Johnson lost a vote of no confidence he could use the gray areas of untested electoral law, passed in 2011, by refusing to resign. That would deprive opponents of a shot at forming a government and delay an election until after Brexit.

Some argue an election would even play into the hands of a prime minister who has spent his first five weeks in office on a de-facto election campaign.

“Johnson’s real objective is to use Brexit to win a general election, rather than use a general election to secure Brexit,” Tom Kibasi, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research wrote in the Guardian newspaper.

“By forcing the hands of his opponents, he has defined the terrain for a ‘people versus parliament’ election.”

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Italian draft budget is due mid-October: EU budget commissioner

Italian draft budget is due mid-October: EU budget commissioner Italian draft budget is due mid-October: EU budget commissioner

ALPBACH, Austria (Reuters) – Italy must hand in a draft budget by mid-October despite the political turbulence there, the European Union’s budget commissioner said on Friday.

“All member states have to deliver their draft budget mid-October,” Guenther Oettinger said at an economic event in the Austrian province of Tirol.

Italy’s president asked Giuseppe Conte on Thursday to return as prime minister in a new coalition of the 5-Star Movement and opposition Democratic Party (PD), a move that could improve Italy’s fractious relations with the EU.

Oettinger said he hoped Italy soon had a new government able to deliver at least a first budget draft. “If they say we need five or 10 more days, no problem,” he said.

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