Europe is on edge today as Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, prepares to address the region’s parliament, potentially declaring independence from Spain following last week’s disputed referendum.
Spain’s government says it is ready to intervene and reassert control over Catalonia, warning that the region risks economic chaos if it presses ahead with its bid for independence.
Politically, the situation is complex for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who pledged that “national unity will be maintained” by using all instruments available to him. That includes suspending the regional administration and sending in security forces.
Meanwhile, the French government said it would not recognise an independent Catalonia, and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Rajoy over the weekend to stress her support for Spain’s unity.
Despite the opposition and widespread protests, some politicians and activists say they won’t accept anything less than a full declaration of independence for the northeastern region of 7.5 million people. And although the move could be largely symbolic, both sides are aware that the pressure is mounting for a resolution to the country’s worst political crisis in four decades.
Theresa May said yesterday that Britain would continue to be bound by European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings during any future transition period and refused to rule out accepting new Brussels regulations brought in during that time. During the Commons debate, the prime minister also told MPs that she wanted a free trade deal with the EU signed by March 2019 but warned she had already begun preparing for a no-deal scenario in case that was not possible.
At least 10 people are dead and two have been seriously injured in fires in northern California. A state of emergency has been declared in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, north of San Francisco Bay. They are among eight counties affected by 14 major fires, which have burned through more than 49,000 acres and destroyed at least 1,500 homes.
Professor Richard H. Thaler was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. Thaler, an economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, is a pioneer of the discipline known as behavioural economics, which marries the work of psychologists with that of economists to produce better models of human decision-making.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein was fired by his own company, amid a slew of sexual harassment allegations dating back decades. Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and dozens of other women in Hollywood have condemned the producer.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
BAE Systems, Britain's biggest defence contractor, is to axe more than 1,000 jobs this week in a bitter blow for Britain's manufacturing industry. The firm is expected to make an announcement today regarding the cuts, which are thought to mainly affect its two plants in Lancashire. Union Unite warned the cuts would undermine the nation's defence and said it was demanding urgent talks with BAE.
Ikea will start experimenting with selling its famous flatpack furniture through online retailers as part of a wider push to become more accessible to shoppers. The Swedish chain is also testing a smaller city centre store format and order and pick-up points.
Statoil has reported that a new discovery in the North Sea could contain up to 130 million barrels of oil. The Norwegian group said at least 25 million recoverable barrels had been proven in the immediate vicinity of the Verbier sidetrack well in the outer Moray Firth. It added there could be "significant remaining potential" in the basin.
What happened yesterday?
The UK’s major share index fell behind European peers on yesterday, as a recovering pound dented performance and heavyweight mining and energy sectors lagged. The FTSE 100 closed 0.2% lower at 7,507.
Miners struggled after activity in China's services sector grew at its slowest pace in 21 months due to less new orders.
Anglo American was the biggest blue-chip faller, down 3.4% to £14.31. Rio Tinto followed its peer lower, falling 2.2% to £36.27 and Antofagasta declined 1.6% to 981p.
Brent crude prices edged higher by 0.2% to $55.59 per barrel following comments by Opec suggesting that "extraordinary" measures may be needed to rebalance the oil market.
On the FTSE 250, shares in hotels group Millennium & Copthorne jumped 22.9% after Singapore's City Developments offered to buy the remaining shares in M&C that it does not already own. City Developments already controls about 65% of M&C. The offer values the hotels group at about £1.8bn.
Sterling rose nearly 0.8% against the US dollar around midday, but settled closer to 0.5% higher in afternoon trading at 1.312. Versus the euro, the pound was up 0.4% at 1.117.
Volution Group plc (FAN)
BAE Systems plc (BA.)
EasyHotel plc (EZH)
Marstons plc (MARS)
UK Economic Announcements
(9:30) Balance of Trade
(9:30) Industrial Production
(9:30) Manufacturing Production
Diverse Income Trust plc (The) (DIVI)
Mortice Limited (MORT)
Scancell Holdings plc (SCLP)
International Economic Announcements
(7:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(7:00) Current Account (GER)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Writing in The Times this morning, Hugo Rifkind looks back at Harvey Weinstein’s career and allegations of sexual abuse. The author also comments on other famous film personalities entangled in sexual scandals.
Charles Moore, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph criticises the BBC for its reporting of the events in Catalonia and warns “fellow Brexiteers” against comparing the referendum on Brexit to the Catalan one on independence.
ON THIS DAY
The Beatles 1966 hit ‘Yesterday’ has been covered more times than any other song ever written. The song’s original title was ‘Scrambled Eggs’, which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
House of Commons
Health (incl. Topical Qs.)
European Union (Approvals) Bill – Committee stage (Committee of the whole house) / Report stage / 3rd reading – Greg Clark
Baby loss awareness week
Devolution: Yorkshire – John Grogan
House of Lords
Review of the UK’s disaster relief operations in the Caribbean, in light of Hurricane Irma – Lord Naseby
International students and migration figures – Lord Holmes of Richmond
Register of serial stalkers, incl. perpetrators of domestic violence – Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Data Protection Bill (HL) – 2nd reading – Lord Ashton of Hyde
In recess until October 23.
House of Commons
Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (including Topical Questions)
Prime Minister's Question Time
Finance Bill - Committee stage - Committee of the whole House - Mel Stride
University Vice-Chancellors' pay - Dr Andrew Murrison
House of Lords
Maintaining benefits to the UK arising from EU students studying at UK universities - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Human rights violations against the Royingya people in Burma - Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead
Broadcasting code in relation to smoking on reality TV shows - Lord Storey
Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill [HL] - Report stage - Earl Howe
Implementing the report from the Farmer Review, The Importance of Prisoners’ Family Ties for Reform: Preventing Reoffending and Reducing Intergenerational Crime - Lord Farmer