Briefing: German election fallout, Trump accused of declaring war

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  • North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, has accused U.S. President Donald J. Trump of declaring war by demeaning Kim Jong-un. Trump has repeatedly referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” while the North Korean leader responded on Friday by calling Trump a “dotard.” Ri also told reporters in New York that North Korea reserved the right to shoot down U.S. bombers, including those outside North Korean airspace.
  • Catalan campaigners have distributed one million ballot papers a week before a referendum on Catalan independence is due to take place, despite the Spanish government ruling it illegal and arresting Catalan officials.


  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap election and will dissolve parliament on Thursday. In a press conference, Abe cited a “national crisis” due to Japan’s ageing population, falling birth rates, and threats from North Korea. Observers have said that Abe is seeking to take advantage of a bump in his polling numbers and a disorganised opposition. Full story.
  • A co-leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has quit. Frauke Petry, seen as the party’s leading moderate, said she would sit as an independent in parliament because the AfD is a party of opposition and is not fit for government. The AfD party surged in Germany’s recent general election on Sunday, going from 4.7 percent and no seats at the last general election to 13 percent of the national vote share and 94 seats.
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has issued an apology for “mistakes” and pledged the company’s commitment to improving its services. London’s travel authority rejected the company’s application to renew its operating licence last week, saying that the U.S. tech company failed to adhere to proper standards of governance. A petition started by Uber aimed at overturning the decision has gained 758,000 signatures at the time of writing.
  • Iran has halted flights into Iraqi Kurdistan and closed its land border, according to a state news agency report. Tehran is cooperating with Baghdad as both governments seek to reprimand regional Kurdish government, which is holding a referendum on independence today. Other regional powers have condemned the vote. Full Story.
  • The UN has released a report condemning the “multiple and grave” human rights violations committed in Crimea since it was occupied by Russia in 2014. The report blames Russian state agents for crimes including arbitrary detention, torture, and at least one execution.


  • President Donald J. Trump has updated his controversial travel ban to include people from North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad. Now people from eight countries will face restrictions on travelling to the U.S. after Trump unveiled the revamped travel ban on Sunday. “Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump said in a tweet after his administration released details of the restrictions on Sunday night. The new rules will impact citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – and some from Venezuela – and will go into effect on October 18. Full story.
  • Germany’s nationalist party, AfD, made gains in the German parliament, becoming the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag in 50 years, as chancellor Angela Merkel held her position, winning a fourth term. The surge in support for the far-right is thought to be a reaction to Merkel’s decision two years ago to allow one million migrants into Germany.
  • Voting in an independence referendum organised by the Kurdistan Regional Government started this morning. While a “yes” vote is expected, the result is not binding but gives Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani a mandate to negotiate withdrawing from oil trade with Baghdad and other neighbouring states. Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (1.00 a.m. ET) and are due to close at 6:00 p.m with final results expected within 72 hours.
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce a snap general election this week. Abe, who has held power for five years, is seeking to take advantage of a recovery in his polling and simultaneous disarray in the opposition.

What we’re reading and watching

  • David Remnick’s interview with Hillary Clinton published in the New Yorker magazine and on the website today, has the former presidential hopeful recalling her thoughts and feelings post-election and coming to terms with an unprecedented defeat. The in-depth piece covers Trump’s win, Clinton’s new book and doubts from her colleagues surrounding it, foreign election interference and getting into yoga pants after losing the U.S. Presidential Election.
  • The Financial Times reports on the global coffee industry and calls for a return to the production quotas of the 1980s. Only 5 cents per cup sold by baristas in wealthy western capitals ends up going to farmers, a rate so low that it is undermining the global coffee industry, according to politicians.
  • President Trump’s row with leading U.S. sports stars continued over the weekend. His criticisms of certain players kneeling during the national anthem, which started as a statement about alleged police racism and brutality, inspired dozens more to kneel or join arms as a show of solidarity on Sunday. The statement spread to music, with Stevie Wonder and Pharrell Williams among those who “took a knee” during performances.
  • Anthony Weiner, the ex-New York congressman and former husband to the vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign has been jailed for 21 months for sexting an underage girl. An investigation into Weiner’s sexting played a role in the final days leading up to last year’s presidential election. Last year, authorities found emails on his laptop from his ex wife, Huma Abedin. James Comey, then director of the FBI, reopened its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state.
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