Global News December 20, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News December 20, 2017

“Santa Rally Eludes Europe Stocks Lagging U.S. by Most Since 1991.”

Anyone pinning their hopes on a so-called Santa rally to revive Europe’s lagging equity market is running out of time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index has barely budged from early November levels, leaving its fourth-quarter advance at just 0.6 percent. With the S&P 500 Index gaining 6.4 percent since Sept. 30, U.S. stocks are set for their biggest end-of-year win over those in Europe since 1991.
Renewed appetite for bank stocks at the start of December failed to ignite the kind of risk-taking in Europe that has sent U.S. benchmarks to all-time highs. Since the Stoxx 600 hit a two-year high in November, investors have instead had to field selloffs in single stocks such as Steinhoff International Holdings NV, Hennes & Mauritz AB and Saga Plc.


BBC News
“Poland judiciary reforms: EU takes disciplinary measures.”

The EU has launched unprecedented disciplinary measures against Poland, saying its planned judicial reforms threaten the rule of law. It said 13 new laws in two years have allowed the government to «interfere significantly» in the judiciary. Poland has been given three months to address the concerns. But the Polish conservative government called the decision «political». It has said the reforms are needed to curb inefficiency and corruption.
After almost two years monitoring the situation in Poland, the European Commission – the EU executive – said this was a matter of «common concern» for the bloc, and asked the government to:
-Not apply lower retirement age to current judges
-Remove the discretionary power of the president to prolong the mandate of Supreme Court judges
-Remove the new retirement regime for judges including the discretionary powers of the Minister of Justice
-Restore the independence and legitimacy of the Constitutional Tribunal
The Commission’s deputy head, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has conducted talks with the Polish government led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS), said there was «no other option» as the «entire structure was affected».
On Twitter Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the reform was deeply needed and that «Poland is as devoted to the rule of law as the rest of the EU». He added: «The dialogue between the Commission and Warsaw needs to be both open and honest. I believe that Poland’s sovereignty and the idea of United Europe can be reconciled.»
Mr Morawiecki has said that the EU has taken a one-sided view and that his country is entitled to carry out reforms. The situation poses a potential diplomatic headache for British Prime Minister Theresa May who is due to meet her relatively new Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki at a summit in Warsaw on Thursday.


“Uber dealt blow after EU court classifies it as transport service.”

Uber should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators, the European Union’s top court said in a landmark ruling on Wednesday that could impact other online businesses in Europe.
Uber, which allows passengers to summon a ride through an app on their smartphones, has transformed the taxi industry since its launch in 2011 and now operates in more than 600 cities globally.
In the latest of a series of legal battles, Uber had argued it was simply a digital app that acted as an intermediary between drivers and customers looking for a ride and so should fall under lighter EU rules for online services.
“The service provided by Uber connecting individuals with non-professional drivers is covered by services in the field of transport,” the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said. “Member states can, therefore, regulate the conditions for providing that service,” it said.
The case follows a complaint from a professional taxi drivers’ association in Barcelona that Uber’s activities in Spain amounted to misleading practices and unfair competition from Uber’s use of non-professional drivers – a service Uber calls UberPOP and which has since been suspended in Spain and other countries.
Bernardine Adkins, Head of EU, Trade and Competition Law at Gowling WLG said the ruling provided “vital clarity to its (Uber‘s) position within the marketplace. Uber’s control over its drivers, its ability to set prices and the fact its electronic service is inseparable from its ultimate consumer experience means it is more than simply a platform connecting drivers to passengers.”


BBC News
“UN Jerusalem vote: US ‘will be taking names’.”

The US says it «will be taking names» during a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution criticising its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Permanent representative Nikki Haley warned member states that President Donald Trump had asked her to report on «who voted against us» on Thursday.
The draft resolution does not mention the US, but says any decisions on Jerusalem should be cancelled. On Monday, the US vetoed a similar motion at the UN Security Council.
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Israel occupied the east of the city, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy. The 193-member UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim states, who condemned Mr Trump’s decision to reverse decades of US policy earlier this month.
The Palestinians called for the meeting after the US vetoed the Security Council resolution, which affirmed that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem were «null and void and must be rescinded», and urged all states to «refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city». The other 14 members of the Security Council voted in favour of the draft, but Ms Haley described it as an «insult» and warned that «it won’t be forgotten».