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FirstFT: Lib Dems wins North Shropshire

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Boris Johnson suffered another blow to his authority as UK Prime Minister after Tories suffered deep parliamentary crisis defeat in by-elections in North Shropshire, a conservative safety seat for nearly 200 years.

The Liberal Democrats overturned a Conservative majority of 23,000 votes to win the rural Brexit seat by a margin of nearly 6,000 votes, closing a calamitous end of 2021 for Johnson.

The PM will now face further Tory questions over his leadership, after weeks of self-inflicted mistakes and a record-breaking rebellion by Tory MPs this week over his ‘plan B’ policy to tackle the latest epidemic coronavirus disease in the UK.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Jennifer

1. The BoE raises its key rate to 0.25% The Bank of England surprised markets by raising interest rates 0.1%, its first hike in more than three years, saying inflation risks require preemptive action even as the Omicron variant spreads . In doing so, the bank is implementing its slogan “in the field of price stability”.

  • Other news from the central bank: The European Central Bank will cut back on bond purchases in the event of a crisis, and the Bank of Mexico has raised interest rates more than expected as it faces its highest inflation in two decades. The US Federal Reserve has moved away from an ultra-accommodative monetary policy despite a wave of Covid-19 cases.

2. Palantir to relocate data processing to UK from US Data analytics firm known for its defense and national security ties plans to move all of its data processing operations to the UK from the US before what experts call a ‘regulatory tsunami’ global impact affecting cross-border data flows.

3. The EU will work with its allies on possible sanctions against Russia EU leaders agreed to coordinate with their allies on sanctions in the event of an invasion of Ukraine and instructed bloc officials to prepare measures that could include cutting Russian banks from the international Swift network.

4. Turkey increases the minimum wage by 50% President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage to protect citizens from soaring inflation, hours after the central bank cut interest rates for the fourth month in a row. Some exporters have benefited from a stronger dollar, but others are hungry for certainty after the pound crash.

5. US Blacklists Chinese Biotech Groups for Suppression of Uyghurs The United States is placing the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 institutes involved in biotechnology on an export blacklist for allegedly helping Beijing to engage in repression and surveillance of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Coronavirus digest

  • UK cases hit a record high yesterday for the second day in a row, with more than 88,000 people positive test. France will block the entry of British tourists.

  • The European Medicines Agency could approve the Novavax two-dose vaccine against the coronavirus starting next week.

  • Residents of the largest we cities are struggling to book appointments due to demand for boosters as the Omicron wave rises.

  • A we panel of scientific advisers voted to recommend the BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on the shot made by Johnson & Johnson.

  • Delta Airlines’ The general manager said Omicron will affect bookings next year.

  • Opinion: Switzerland is in the throes of a more severe and less-treated coronavirus wave than almost any other in the pandemic, writes Sam Jones.

The coming days

Fall in trade between the UK and Ireland Downing Street is expected to drop her demand to impeach the European Court of Justice as the ultimate arbiter of Northern Ireland’s trade rules as it seeks to defuse tensions with the EU.

UK Retail The figures Stricter restrictions due to the increase in Covid cases will inevitably affect industries such as retail and transportation, although this can be a boon for some retailers, including online grocery delivery companies. . Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to speak with hospitality officials who have expressed frustration at his inability to offer more financial support.

Tunisia anniversary protest Eleven years have passed since Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in response to the confiscation of his vegetable cart by the police sparked the Arab Spring uprising.

referendum in Taiwan Saturday’s four-question vote on topics ranging from food security to a nuclear power plant represents a test of the future of the opposition KMT as a viable political force.

Second round of the Chilean presidential election The country is organizing a second round of the presidential election on Sunday between two men with diametrically opposed opinions. At stake is not only the immediate future of Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, but also the verdict of four decades of free market economic policy.

Line graph of annual% change in GDP showing that the Chilean economy has outperformed the rest of Latin America

Is conceiving of disinformation as an “infodemic” really a good way to deal with the problem? Join us on Twitter spaces today to discuss.

What else do we read and listen to

Afghanistan on the verge of famine Millions of people face famine as the country slides into what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The crisis has been brewing for years: decades of fighting have disrupted crops and displaced rural communities, and successive droughts have jeopardized food supplies.

Babies treated for malnutrition at a Médecins Sans Frontières nutritional center in Herat

Babies treated for malnutrition in a Médecins Sans Frontières nutrition center in Hérat © Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty

Why the rules don’t apply to Boris Johnson Buried in the British Prime Minister is a unifying ideology that links Brexit, his deadly delay on Covid and his caste’s contempt for the rules. The common thread: Life taught Johnson to expect maximum personal freedom, writes Simon Kuper.

The real estate trap that traps young buyers The surge in demand for real estate during the pandemic pushed annual house price inflation to 10.2%. This makes homeowners feel considerably richer, at least on paper. But first-time buyers find it difficult to add up the figures.

The underside of globalization On the Rachman Review podcast, Gideon speaks with Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Age of Non-Peace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict, about how world powers try to exert influence in an interconnected world.

How to give the perfect Christmas present The winter holidays were a tumultuous public bacchanal, more like Halloween. After two centuries of commercialization, it seems pointless to resist tradition. But at least we can aspire to be better gift givers. Tim Harford has some advice.


It’s been a terrible year for style, writes Unhedged author and style columnist Robert Armstrong. To kick off the 2022 “fight”, he offers a list of nine style resolutions.

Beautiful appearance in 1958: Ugo Tognazzi, Caprice Chantal, Anthony Steel and Anita Ekberg dine at the Casino Saint-Vincent, Piedmont

Superb in 1958: Ugo Tognazzi, Caprice Chantal, Anthony Steel and Anita Ekberg dine at the Casino Saint-Vincent, Piedmont © Publifoto Milano / AFP / Getty

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