Financial Times – Max Seddon and Guy Chazan / Russia expels German diplomats in retaliation against Berlin
- Russia expelled two German diplomats on Monday in a tit-for-tat measure after a judge in Berlin accused the Kremlin of “state terrorism” for ordering the murder of a Chechen rebel in 2019.
- The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it had declared the diplomats personae non gratae after Germany ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats last week over the incident.
- Berlin’s regional court sentenced Russian national Vadim Krasikov, 56, to life in prison for shooting Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin who once fought in an insurgency against Moscow, in broad daylight in the Kleiner Tiergarten, a Berlin park.
- “The German ambassador was informed of declaring two diplomatic employees of the German embassy to Russia personae non gratae as a symmetric response to the aforementioned unfriendly decision by the German government,” the ministry said.
- Bloomberg – Patrick Donahue / Germany calls Russia’s expulsion of diplomats ‘unjustified’
The Guardian – Peter Walker and Jamie Grierson / Lockdown party inquiry could expand to cover No 10 garden event
- Bereaved families have accused Boris Johnson of showing “flagrant disregard” for the public as ministers struggled to explain the justification for a wine and cheese event in Downing Street at the height of lockdown.
- A Cabinet Office inquiry into other alleged government parties in breach of Covid rules could be expanded after the Guardian published an image showing the prime minister alongside his wife and up to 17 staff in the Downing Street garden in May 2020.
- Amid growing fury over the photograph, Johnson said on Monday: “Those were meetings of people at work, talking about work.” Labour dismissed Downing Street’s explanation and said it amounted to evidence of law-breaking.
- The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said the lack of any signs of work, with red wine and a cheeseboard visible rather than laptops or pens, showed Johnson “presided over a culture of believing that the rules applied only to other people”.
- The Atlantic – Tom McTague / What is the point of Boris Johnson?
Financial Times – Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson / World Economic Forum defers Davos meeting over Omicron concerns
- The World Economic Forum has scrapped its plans to hold an in-person annual meeting in Davos next month, extending a two-year run of enforced changes of plan for the high-octane networking event amid continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak.
- The annual gathering of executives, world leaders and activists had been due to take place between January 17 and January 21 in the Swiss ski resort that has become known for elite agenda-setting. A statement from the WEF said it would be replaced by a series of online sessions, with another in-person event planned for some time early in the summer of 2022.
- The forum’s last in-person annual meeting took place in January 2020, just as Covid-19 was hitting the consciousness of its international attendees. Since then, the WEF had already been forced to change its meeting plans at least six times, scrapping alternative dates and locations from Singapore to the banks of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne as the pandemic extended.
- “Current pandemic conditions make it extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting,” the forum said on Monday. “Despite the meeting’s stringent health protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impact on travel and mobility have made deferral necessary.”
- Bloomberg / Omicron set to halve fourth quarter global economic growth
- The European Commission plans to finish next year its long-awaited proposal on whether to label gas and nuclear energy as climate-friendly investments under EU green finance rules, its environment policy chief said on Monday.
- The European Union’s executive Commission is considering whether to include nuclear and natural gas in its “sustainable finance taxonomy”, a rulebook that will restrict which activities can be labelled as climate-friendly investments.
- “We are going to have most likely a discussion tomorrow in college, which then will lead… to approval next year,” EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius told a news conference on Monday, referring to the Commission’s weekly “college” meeting.
- Before the Commission publishes its proposal for the rules, it must share them with member states and its group of expert advisers from finance, industry and civil society groups.
- EUobserver – Wester Van Gaal / EU green taxonomy becomes law, gas and nuclear postponed
Today’s longer reads:
- Foreign Affairs – Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman / India’s stalled rise
- Financial Times – Chris Giles / Why Erdogan’s unorthodox economic experiment is not working