Global News September 25, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News September 25, 2017

BBC News
“German election: Merkel wins fourth term, AfD nationalists rise.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term while nationalists have made a historic surge in federal elections. Her conservative CDU/CSU bloc has seen its worst result in almost 70 years but will remain the largest in parliament. Its current coalition partner, the social democratic SPD, says it will go into opposition after historic losses.
The nationalist AfD has won its first seats and is set to be the third party, a result that sparked some protests. Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the right-wing, anti-Islam party’s headquarters in Berlin on Sunday night, some with placards saying «Refugees are welcome». Protests were also held in several other cities, including Frankfurt and Cologne.
The Social Democrats (SPD) also had their worst election result since 1949. The party’s loss of support while junior partner in government saw leader Martin Schulz declare the end of the «grand coalition» with Mrs Merkel’s alliance, to cheers and applause. «It’s a difficult and bitter day for social democrats in Germany,» Mr Schulz told supporters. «We haven’t reached our objective.» He also vowed to prevent the AfD from being the main opposition party.
The AfD party is expected to take 94 seats in the 709-seat federal parliament after capitalising on a backlash against Mrs Merkel’s policy towards migrants and refugees, many of them from war-torn, mainly Muslim countries like Syria. Alternative for Germany was founded in 2013 as an anti-euro party but later turned its focus to immigration and Islam. It called for a ban on minarets and declared Islam incompatible with German culture. Several of its candidates have been linked to far-right remarks. Those hardline positions helped it to win seats in 13 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments in the last few years.


“Republicans revise Obamacare repeal bill amid tepid support.”

U.S. senators made a last-ditch effort on Monday to secure support for the latest Republican attempt to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, releasing revised legislation to appeal to undecided senators. The bill had faced possible defeat this week as several senators in the party voiced concerns.
The Senate is up against a Saturday deadline for deciding the fate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, because of an expiring rule that lets the Republican healthcare legislation pass with just a simple 51-vote majority, instead of the 60-vote threshold needed for most measures.
Republican senators leading the effort on Monday released a revised version of their bill, originally introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. It included a table that said some states where senators have been undecided, such as Alaska and Maine, would do better under the bill than under current law. Democratic leaders roundly rejected the revised draft as a sleight of hand to gain support.The last attempt to repeal Obamacare fell one vote short in July, in a humiliating setback for Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Graham-Cassidy bill would take federal money spent on the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled, as well as subsidies to help Americans buy private insurance, and divvy it up to the states in block grants. Advocates say that would give states more discretion to manage their own healthcare schemes. Opponents fear that undoing Obamacare will mean millions lose healthcare, including some with pre-existing medical conditions.


“U.S. Stocks Dip as Investors Digest Trump Tax Plan: Markets Wrap.”

U.S. stocks slid as investors weighed the impact of the Republican tax proposal that would dramatically cut levies on corporations and the wealthy. Politics dominated trading in Europe, with the euro sliding after the German election, giving European stocks a boost.
The S&P 500 Index opened lower, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed. The euro weakened against almost all its major peers after Chancellor Angela Merkel won Germany’s election with a smaller share of the vote, while the country’s main far-right party, Alternative for Germany, posted a surprisingly strong result.
The yen stayed weaker as Japan’s prime minister unveiled a fresh stimulus package and said he’ll dissolve the lower house of parliament ahead of a general election. Developing-nation stocks headed for a third day of declines. Most government bonds advanced.
Trouble continues to foment in the Catalonia region of Spain, while central bank grandees including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are among those scheduled to speak this week.


“Trump’s new travel ban could be harder to fight in court: experts.”

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Sunday restricting travelers from an expanded list of countries has already been roundly criticized by immigrant and civil rights groups as no more lawful than his previous travel ban, but it could stand a better chance of holding up in court, legal experts said.
The new presidential proclamation, which Trump said is needed to screen out terrorist or public safety threats, indefinitely restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred.
Trump’s Mar. 6 temporary travel ban, which replaced another ban from January and expired on Sunday, targeted six Muslim-majority countries. It sparked international outrage and was quickly blocked by federal courts as unconstitutional discrimination or a violation of immigration law.
While the previous ban targeted Muslim-majority nations Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, the restrictions announced on Sunday include North Korea and Venezuela and omits Sudan altogether. It also allows some travelers from Somalia and Iran to enter the U.S.
The review also examined each country’s ability to issue reliable electronic passports and share security risk data with the U.S. Overall, 47 countries had problems, and 40 made improvements, including 11 that agreed to share information on known or suspected terrorists, Trump’s proclamation said.