18 April

@lyle_h_hill

18 April

Good morning,

Turkey's controversial and divisive president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been congratulated by President Trump for his narrow victory in a nationwide constitutional referendum on Sunday. Trump also thanked Erdogan for his support for US airstrikes in Syria following the gas attack that killed over 70 civilians.

Erdogan's 'yes' side won the referendum by 51% to 49%, leading to accusations that the vote was rigged and bringing protestors out onto the streets. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe criticised the referendum process, saying it was an "unlevel playing field in which both sides did not have equal opportunities". 

President Erdogan's victory will give him an increased set of sweeping powers at his disposal – including the ability to appoint top public officials – and could potentially allow him to remain in office until 2029.

The vote was interesting for three distinct features. Firstly, it had an unusually high turnout of 85%, markedly higher than the 72% who voted in the UK's EU referendum and the same level as Scotland's independence referendum.

There was also a highly disparate foreign vote, as Turkish nationals living abroad were granted the franchise. The countries with the largest proportion of Turkish born nationals voted decisively with the president, whereas in smaller countries with a reduced Turkish presence, the votes swung against Erdogan.

Finally, the major metropolitan cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir all voted against the president. The strength of Erdogan's support came from his heartland in the poorer, rural communities of central Turkey.

The referendum followed an attempted coup on Erdogan's presidency in July and a prolonged state of emergency in the country. Last night, amid the increasing tensions, that state of emergency was extended for another three months.

News

Films documenting early evidence of the Holocaust atrocities, dating back to 1943, will be opened to the public for the first time by the Wiener Library in London. The archives have been made public from the once inaccessible UN war crimes commission which gathered the evidence following the war in order to prosecute leading Nazis.

The French election enters its final few days of campaigning before the first round of elections on the 23rd April. Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron have been campaigning in Paris, packing out venues of 5,000 and 20,000 respectively. However, the two front runners will not be as confident of making the final round as they once were, with the polls tightening as hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon enjoys a surge and François Fillon refuses to admit defeat. 

Prince Harry has been widely praised for his candour about his mental health difficulties following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. Harry sought treatment after his life had descended into "total chaos". According to experts, the Prince's decision to open up about his problems could represent a real turning point in the battle to give mental health treatment equal standing with that of physical health. 

A nationwide manhunt is underway in the United States to find Steve Stephens, who shot dead an elderly man on the street and then posted the image on Facebook. The act has forced Facebook to review how it monitors content, with the social network firm admitting it "needs to do better" when it comes to keeping distressing images and videos from the site.

Business and Economy

Weetabix, the British cereal, is to be sold to US consumer group Post Holdings for $1.76 billion. Weetabix had previously been purchased by Shanghai based Bright Food in 2012 for £1.2 billion, but the Chinese group had struggled to broaden the cereal's appeal to the Chinese market. The Group agreed to sell after several months of negotiations with multiple interested parties.

Netflix has announced that its subscription numbers have increased to almost 100 million, a rise of 4.95 million in the first three months of the year. However, this underperformed the company's expectations, as Netflix had forecast subscriber growth in the region of 5.2 million. In response, the video streaming site has announced a $1 billion marketing push.

 The Office for National Statistics has calculated that Londoners work 100 hours a year longer than workers in other parts of the UK. The data highlights that the average working week in London is 33 hours, two hours longer than the national average and the longest since the financial crash in 2008. According to experts, London's cost of living, young demographics and concentration of more highly skilled workers leads to the increase.

Markets

AGMs

Apax Global Alpha Limited, Cloudbuy, Herald Investment Trust, Onzima Ventures

 Annual Report

North Midland Construction

Int Economic Announcements 

(13:30) Building Permits (US)

(13:30) Housing Starts (US)

(14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US)

(14:15) Industrial Production (US)

 

Columns of note

Hugo Rifkind, writing in The Times, argues that while it may be appealing to Theresa May, considering her own personal background, to appeal to a sort of religious nationalism, the British system of "messy accommodation" of multiple faiths works well. He warns May to tamper with it at her peril.

Natalie Nougayrède, writing in The Guardian, explains why she thinks Jean-Luc Mélenchon is not the saviour of the left, despite many portrayals of him as just that. She points to his dislike of Germany and the fact that he is soft on Putin as reason enough to reject his platform. According to Nougayrède, people who view him as a route out of the "old order" must be careful what they wish for.

Did you know?

Fleas can accelerate 50 times faster than a space shuttle after launch.

Parliamentary Highlights

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Chancellor of the Exchequer, including Topical Questions

Adjournment 

Mitigating support for Employment Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group - Neil Gray

Select Committees

Treasury - Oral Evidence Session - Budget 2017

Home Affairs - Oral Evidence Session - Immigration

House of Lords

In recess until 24th April.

Scottish Parliament

Health and Sport Committee Debate

Inquiry into the Preventative Health Agenda

Member's Business

Christine Grahame: Addaction