President Trump is expected to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a speech today, representing a significant change in US foreign policy and sparking anger in the Arab and wider Islamic world.
The status of Jerusalem – considered holy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and claimed as capital by both Israel and Palestine – is one of the key issues that will need to be resolved if a two-state solution is ever to succeed.
Although the State of Israel has regarded Jerusalem as its capital since its official foundation in 1948, and bases its seat of government there, no member of the international community has recognised this until now. All foreign embassies are currently based in Tel-Aviv, however, it is believed that plans to move the US embassy will also be approved today.
In 1995, the US Congress mandated that the US embassy be relocated to Jerusalem but successive presidents have signed repeated six-month waivers delaying the move for national security reasons – a status quo largely accepted by all sides.
Trump pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during the 2016 campaign and administration officials have said the move is a case of “recognising reality”. However, this seems like an overly simplistic explanation for a move with huge ramifications in an unstable region.
The security services have foiled a plot to assassinate Theresa May – one of nine attacks that were prevented in the last year. Andrew Parker, head of MI5, briefed cabinet ministers yesterday and two men who were arrested on 28thNovember will appear in Westminster Magistrates Court today on terror charges. Their plan, it is alleged, was to plant an improvised explosive device at the gates of Downing Street before attacking and killing May in the ensuing chaos.
The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, following a World Anti Doping Agency investigation into state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games. Twenty-five Russian athletes (10.8% of the total team) who competed in Sochi have been suspended from the Olympics for life. Those who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
The Ministry of Defence has banned the chancellor from using a fleet of RAF jets and helicopters until the Treasury settles an unpaid six-figure bill for past flights. It has been reported that Hammond used the military jets and helicopters to fly to more than 20 destinations – all of which were accessible by train or budget airline – this year on official business. This leak appears to be part of a growing spat between the two departments as Gavin Williamson, the new defence secretary, prepares to fight the Treasury for an extra £2 billion a year for the armed forces.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and current chief executive of Fox, has been mooted as a potential successor to Bob Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney, during discussions over the sale of 21st Century Fox assets. Disney, Comcast and Verizon, are exploring deals to acquire Fox’s film studio, cable channels, international units and regional US sports networks which are valued at more than $60 billion. Murdoch’s knowledge of Fox assets and the global television market mean that he would be likely to take a senior executive role with Disney if a sale is agreed.
New car registrations were down by more than 11% in November – the eighth consecutive month of declining sales – according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The sale of diesel cars, which traditionally makes up half of all cars sold, has fallen 30%, with the industry blaming the government following anti-diesel rhetoric and the decision to increase tax on new diesels.
What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 closed down 11.47, or 0.16%, at 7,327.50 points yesterday.
Tesco was the biggest climber, gaining 3.00% after Goldman Sachs upgraded its recommendation from “sell” to “buy” due to improving profits. Fellow supermarkets also saw a bump, with Sainsburys and Morrisons rising 2.75% and 2.24% respectively.
Mining stocks were amongst the day’s losers, with Glencore and Anglo American both down by more than 2%. This was due to drops in metal prices as both copper and nickel fell to their lowest levels in two months.
Across the Atlantic, US stocks failed to hold on to recent gains with the S&P 500 down 0.37%, the Dow Jones Industrial average shedding 0.45% and the Nasdaq dropping 0.19%.
On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.26% against the dollar at $1.3443 and up 0.09% against the euro at €1.1367.
easyHotel, Image Scan Holdings, Numis Corporation, Oxford Metrics, Redhall Group, RWS Holdings, Schroeder European Real Estate Investment Trust
Mercia Technologies, Mulberry Group, Plastics Capital, Stagecoach Group, Sysgroup, Tricorn Group
Billing Services Group Ltd., Ceres Power Holdings, Gattaca, Orchard Funding Group, YouGov
UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
In the Financial Times, Henry Mance details how the UK government blundered into the problems it faces regarding the Irish border during Brexit negotiations, arguing that it was a case of too much swagger combined with inattention to detail.
Writing in The Times, Daniel Finkelstein criticises Labour’s muddled position on Brexit, stating that they have only two options; either they can be the party for staying in the single market and customs union for good, or they can let the government have its own way.
DID YOU KNOW?
The KFC Twitter account follows the five Spice Girls and six men named Herb in tribute to its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.
House of Commons
Oral Questions: Scotland
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Legislation: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee stage (day 5) - Committee of the whole House - Mr David Davis
House of Lords
Government priorities concerning health policy in the Brexit negotiations - Baroness Quin
Impact on freedom of speech of the definition of hate crime recently adopted by the Crown Prosecution Service - Lord Vinson
Introducing mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector - Baroness Kennedy of Cradley
Restricting the sale of video games featuring domestic violence and child abuse - Lord Storey
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill - 3rd reading - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] - Committee stage (day 3) - Committee of the Whole House - Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Portfolio Questions: Communities, Social Security and Equalities
Scottish Liberal Democrat Debate: Justice
Scottish Liberal Democrat Debate: Finance
Oral Questions: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Business Statement: Business Questions to the Leader of the House - Andrea Leadsom
Debate on a motion on prison reform and safety - Robert Neill
UK fishing industry - Mrs Sheryll Murray
House of Lords
Supporting councils to provide emergency housing to help those who have been made unintentionally homeless - Baroness Gardner of Parkes
Supporting the care sector and those receiving care, in the light of the change in guidance on the application of the national minimum wage to sleep-in shifts for care workers - Baroness Hollins
First Minister’s Questions
Ministerial Statement: Improving Scotland's Air Quality - Putting in Place Scotland's Low Emission Zones
Scottish Government Debate: Sea Fisheries and End Year Negotiations