The Norwegian ship Ocean Viking saved another 105 migrants from Libya on Monday. There are a total of 356 people on board. At the same time, 150 migrants remain “trapped” on the Spanish Open Arms ship near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered all Italian ports closed for refugees and illegal migrants. Meanwhile, some migrants have reportedly been waiting on ships for over ten days.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) won the most seats in Sunday’s national election and must now assemble a governing coalition.
This week’s results were a first test for Sanchez who assumed leadership during a coalition restructuring last year. He now expects his increased legitimacy to help him pass social and political reforms.
- For the third time in four years, Spaniards will head to the polls Sunday in a general election. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and his ruling Socialist Workers’ Party, enjoy a commanding lead in the polls, but should still fall short of a governing majority. Sanchez came to power last June, following the first successful no-confidence vote in Spanish history.
- FINLAND: The center-right government unexpectedly fell Friday, ahead of planned elections on April 14. The trigger was Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s failure to pass social and health care reforms. Sipila’s Center Party has trailed the Social Democrats in opinion polls since last May.
- #1 Germany: Economy stalled in the final quarter of last year, just skirting recession as fallout from global trade disputes and Brexit put the brakes on a decade of expansion amid signs that exports will stay subdued for the time being.
- #2 UK: Economy expanded at its slowest annual rate in six years in 2018 after a sharp contraction in December. Growth in the year was 1.4%, down from 1.8% in 2017 and the slowest rate since 2012. Blame factory output and car production for the slowdown, among other factors.
- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a snap election, for April 28, on Friday. Sánchez became Prime Minister in May, after the first successful vote of no confidence in modern Spanish history. The announcement comes two days after his Socialist government was defeated in Congress, and failed to pass its budget.
- SYRIA: The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced Sunday they were engaged in fierce fighting as part of a “final push” against Daesh in Syria. The offensive comes as President Trump announced plans to declare, as early as next week, that all Daesh territory has been recovered.
- SAUDI ARABIA: In an interview with The Washington Post late Saturday, President Trump backed down from his assertion that Saudi Arabia’s account of the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death at the country’s Turkish consulate was credible. “Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies.“Mexico: A growing caravan of Honduran migrants streamed through southern.
- MEXICO: heading toward the United States, after making an end-run around Mexican agents who briefly blocked them at the Guatemalan border. They received help at every turn from sympathetic Mexicans.
- GERMANY: According to a Die Welt journalist, Angela Merkel could quit her post at December’s CDU party conference – before taking on another top job in Europe. “Rumours are swirling in Brussels that Merkel could run for the European Commission next year.”
- SPAIN: One African migrant died and three others were injured when around 300 stormed the border fence separating Spanish enclave Melilla from Morocco on Sunday, the local authorities said.
- ENGLAND: 670,000 protestors filled the streets of London, demanding a fresh Brexit referendum. Prime Minister Theresa May will face unhappy members of her own party at a crisis meeting Wednesday.
- JORDAN/ISRAEL: Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday said he has decided not to renew parts of his country’s landmark 1994 peace treaty that allowed Israel to lease two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr, from the Jordanians for 25 years. The leases expire next year, and the deadline for renewing them is Thursday.
- BRAZIL: Tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday in 15 states across Brazil in support of Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing front-runner in next week’s presidential runoff election. Bolsonaro is polling ahead of the leftist Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the Oct. 28 ballot.