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Brexit hangs in the balance as PM Johnson faces crunch votes in parliament

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces two pivotal Brexit votes in the British parliament on Tuesday that will decide if he can deliver on his pledge to lead the United Kingdom out of the European Union in just nine days time.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks ahead of a vote on his renegotiated Brexit deal, on what has been dubbed “Super Saturday”, in the House of Commons in London, Britain October 19, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

As the clock ticks down to the latest Oct. 31 deadline for the United Kingdom’s departure, Brexit is hanging in the balance as a divided parliament debates when, how and even whether it should happen.

After he was forced by opponents into the humiliation of asking the EU for a delay that he had promised he would never ask for, Johnson is battling to ram legislation through the House of Commons that will enact his last-minute Brexit deal.

In yet another day of high Brexit drama, lawmakers vote around 1800 GMT on the 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill and then vote on the government’s extremely tight timetable for approving the legislation.

“I hope parliament today votes to take back control for itself,” said Johnson, the face of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU.

“The public doesn’t want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I. Let’s get Brexit done on 31 October and move on.”

Defeat in either vote would scupper Johnson’s plans to leave the EU – “do of die” – on Oct. 31. He would then have to decide whether to abide by a law that demands he accept any Brexit delay offered by the EU or somehow leave without a divorce deal.

Victory, while an imperfect indicator of possible support, would simply open up another opportunity for opponents to ambush the government with amendments that could wreck the Johnson’s plans.

Under the government’s current plans, the legislation would be rushed through the House of Commons in just three days.

Previous bills to implement major European treaties have taken between 10 and 40 sitting days to get through parliament, according to the Institute of Government.

A spokesman for Johnson said that if the legislation strayed too far from the deal then its ratification would be placed in question.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper and William James; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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First London, then Europe to vote on Brexit deal – EU’s Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a debate on the last EU summit and Brexit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

STRASBOURG (Reuters) – The European Parliament can only clear the new exit agreement reached with London once the British parliament has ratified it, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday.

“In truth it has pained me to spend so much of this mandate dealing with Brexit when I have thought of nothing less than how this union could better do for its citizens – waste of time and waste of energy,” Juncker told lawmakers in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“We need now to watch events in Westminster very closely, but it’s not possible, not imaginable that this parliament would ratify the agreement before Westminster has ratified the agreement. First London, then Brussels and Strasbourg,” he said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Philip Blenkinsop

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European shares dip after flood of earnings

FILE PHOTO: Traders work at Frankfurt’s stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

(Reuters) – European shares inched lower on Tuesday as investors sifted through a mixed bag of corporate earnings and eyed latest developments on U.S.-China trade talks and Britain’s progress towards some form of orderly departure from the European Union.

Germany’s DAX .GDAXI and Switzerland’s SSMI .SSMI both bucked the trend, with the latter helped by a 1% gain for drugmaker Novartis (NOVN.S) after it raised its 2019 targets and reported better-than-expected revenue.

Another Swiss company, Apple supplier AMS (AMS.S) also climbed 6% as demand from smartphone makers boosted operating profit.

French specialty minerals company Imerys (IMTP.PA) slipped 6% after cutting its outlook for 2019, while Norway’s Aker BP (AKERBP.OL) moved marginally lower as it slashed its full-year oil output target.

British household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) was moored to the bottom of the pan-European STOXX index with a 5% fall after it cut its full-year sales forecast for the second time this year.

The STOXX was down just over 0.1% by 0728 GMT.

Shares of UBS (UBSG.S) led gains among banking stocks .SX7P after Switzerland’s biggest bank reported a smaller than expected loss in quarterly profit.

Swedish defense firm Saab (SAABb.ST) rose 7% to top the STOXX 600 after reporting third-quarter operating earnings well ahead of market forecasts and affirming its view that operating cashflow this year would improve versus 2018.

Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; editing by Patrick Graham

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Canada’s Trudeau retains power in election but will have minority government

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals held onto power after a closely fought election on Monday but were reduced to a minority government that will need the support in Parliament of a smaller left-leaning party.

The vote showed a deeply divided country with the defeated Conservatives winning the popular vote, while a resurgent separatist Bloc Quebecois made big strides in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec.

The Liberals had won or were leading in 156 out of 338 seats in Monday’s vote, according to Elections Canada. That put the Liberals far short of the 170 seats needed for a second straight majority government.

“You did it, my friends. Congratulations,” Trudeau told supporters in Montreal early on Tuesday, speaking as his main opponents were giving concession speeches.

Trudeau, who took power in 2015 as a charismatic figure promising “sunny ways,” saw his popularity drop over old photos of him in blackface and his handling of a corporate corruption case. He will now have to rely on the New Democratic Party (NDP) to push through key legislation.

Although the NDP had a disappointing night, with the 24 seats it had won or was leading in down sharply from the 2015 election when it won 44, the party could exercise significant influence over Trudeau’s next government.

“I think a Liberal government supported by the NDP is likely going to lean farther left,” said John Manley, a former Liberal finance minister who now works in the private sector.

“It raises a series of issues about what are the demands that an NDP party would make. What’s the price of governing going to be? I think businesses are going to be reluctant to make any moves until they get some satisfaction around that.”

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he had spoken with Trudeau and

told him his party would be “working hard to deliver on making sure we deliver the priorities that Canadians have.”

Minority governments in Canada rarely last more than 2-1/2 years.

Ahead of the vote, opinion polls showed a tight race between Trudeau and his main rival, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

“Tonight we have put him on notice,” Scheer said in Regina, Saskatchewan, of Trudeau. “His leadership is damaged and his government will end soon and when that time comes, we will be ready and we will win.

“We are the government in waiting,” added Scheer, 40, whose party won 122 seats.

Trudeau, 47, who has championed diversity as prime minister, was endorsed by former U.S. President Barack Obama in the final stretch of the campaign and is viewed as one of the last remaining progressive leaders among the world’s major democracies.

But the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau also had to overcome a sense of fatigue with his government.

U.S. President Donald Trump, whose relationship with Trudeau has been testy at times, congratulated him “on a wonderful and hard fought victory” via Twitter.

The Bloc Quebecois saw its support jump in Quebec, the only place where the separatist party contests elections. It was elected or ahead in 32 seats, more than three times what the party won in 2015.

“Dear Quebecers, I heard your message tonight,” said Trudeau, who also addressed voters in two western provinces where Liberals were shut out of seats.

“To Canadians in Alberta and Saskatchewan, know that you are an essential part of our great country. I’ve heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together,” he said.

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeauwaves to supporters after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Greens, who have assailed Trudeau for not doing enough to combat climate change, also made gains on Monday.

The Canadian dollar CAD= was little changed after the Liberal win, holding at near three-month highs.

“Markets don’t like uncertainty so it will all depend on what coalition they can come up with and how sustainable that will become,” said Greg Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose Investments in Toronto.

“The bigger problem is it seems that Canadians have never been more divided and the next government really needs to work to correct that. Alberta is at risk of a broader separatist movement and that would be a major negative for Canada.”

WESTERN ANGER

Two Liberal Cabinet ministers lost their seats in western Canada, including veteran Ralph Goodale, the public safety minister. Anger at Trudeau has mounted in the oil-producing region over federal environmental policies that the energy industry says will harm output.

The oil industry’s top lobbying group has blamed Trudeau’s policies for throttling investment in the sector, and some global energy companies have shed assets in the oil sands region of Alberta, the country’s main oil-producing province.

Canada’s economy, however, has been on a general upswing in 2019. The Canadian dollar has been the best-performing G10 currency this year, rising more than 4% against its U.S. counterpart, as the economy added jobs at a robust pace and inflation stayed closed to the Bank of Canada’s 2% target.

The six-week official campaign period was a rough and meandering ride with dirty tactics on both sides in the G7 country.

The liberal image of Trudeau, whose father opened the country to mass immigration, took a severe blow when pictures emerged early in the campaign of him wearing blackface in the early 1990s and in 2001.

Trudeau had already been wrestling with the fallout from accusations he pressured his justice minister to help shield engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) from corruption charges. In August, a top watchdog said Trudeau breached ethics rules.

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Scheer also proved to be a determined opponent, although his hopes for a major breakthrough were dashed.

He had promised to balance the federal budget and eliminate a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels.

“The Tories made a fundamental mistake by being opposed to the carbon tax,” said Hugh Segal, who was chief of staff to former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

“I’ve often heard it said the worst mistake a party can make is to get sucked into its own low expectations of the population,” he said.

Reporting by Nelson Wyatt in Montreal, David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Moira Warburton, Fergal Smith and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Nathan Meyer in Regina; Writing by Steve Scherer and Paul Simao; Editing by Amran Abocar and Peter Cooney

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Goldman Sachs lowers forecast 2020 U.S. shale oil output growth

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs wound back its forecast for growth in U.S. shale output in 2020, and slightly reduced its outlook for 2020 global oil demand growth.

The brokerage said it expects shale oil production to grow by 0.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, down from its previous forecast of 1 million bpd, and below 1.1 million bpd in 2019.

The brokerage shaved its 2020 outlook for global oil demand growth to 1.3 million bpd from 1.4 million bpd previously.

It also forecast supply growth from major oil producing non-OPEC regions, outside of shale, of 1.4 million bpd in 2020, falling sharply to 0.2 million bpd in 2021 and 0.3 million bpd in 2022.

U.S. crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose by 9.3 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 11, compared with expectations for an increase of 2.9 million barrels as refinery output dropped to a two-year low.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million bpd to support the market.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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In ancient throne ritual, Japanese emperor vows to fulfil duty

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his ascendancy to the throne on Tuesday in a centuries-old ceremony attended by dignitaries from more than 180 countries, pledging to fulfil his duty as a symbol of the state.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito departs the Imperial Palace after his enthronement ceremony in Tokyo, Japan October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Naruhito became emperor and his wife Masako became empress on May 1 in a brief ceremony, but Tuesday’s “Sokui no Rei” was a more elaborate ritual at the royal palace in which he officially announced his change in status to the world.

“I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people,” the 59-year-old declared, his voice slightly hoarse, in front of about 2,000 guests, including Britain’s Prince Charles.

“I sincerely hope that Japan will develop further and contribute to the friendship and peace of the international community, and to the welfare and prosperity of human beings through the people’s wisdom and ceaseless efforts.”

The first Japanese emperor born after World War Two, Naruhito acceded to the throne when his father, Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries after worrying that advancing age might make it hard to perform official duties.

The long-planned celebrations, for which Japan declared a national holiday, were tempered by Typhoon Hagibis, which killed at least 82 people when it tore through Japan 10 days ago, and pouring rain early on Tuesday.

A public parade was postponed until next month to allow the government to devote its attention to the typhoon clean-up, while Tuesday’s inclement weather forced the palace to scale back the number of courtiers in ancient robes taking part in the courtyard ceremony although the skies cleared as it began.

“BANZAI” CHEERS, 21-GUN SALUTE

At the sound of a gong in the Matsu-no-Ma, or Hall of Pine, the most prestigious room in the palace, two courtiers bowed deeply and drew back purple curtains on the “Takamikura” – a 6.5-metre (21 feet) high pavilion that weighs about 8 tonnes.

Naruhito was revealed standing in front of a simple throne, dressed in burnt-orange robes and a black headdress, with an ancient sword and a boxed jewel, two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures, placed beside him.

Fifty-five-year-old Harvard-educated Empress Masako, wearing heavy 12-layered robes and with hair flowing down her back, stood in front of a smaller throne to the side. Such traditional robes can weigh around 15 kilogrammes (33 pounds).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a congratulatory speech before assembled dignitaries including Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor’s younger brother, and his family, all adorned in brightly-coloured robes. Other guests included U.S. Transport Secretary Elaine Chao and Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Abe led a trio of cheers of “banzai”, or “long life”, for the emperor, before a 21-gun salute.

Naruhito had earlier entered the palace to cheers from waiting fans before reporting his enthronement to his imperial ancestors at three shrines on the palace grounds, dressed in pure white robes.

“As he is young and energetic with outstanding leadership, I hope he’ll support the people of Japan, which has faced continuous disasters and typhoons,” said Tomoko Shirakawa, 51, who was among the crowds of umbrella-clutching citizens packing the area in front of the palace.

A court banquet is due to be held on Tuesday evening, before Naruhito and Masako host a tea party for foreign royalty on Wednesday afternoon. The government pardoned about half a million people convicted of petty crimes, such as traffic violations, to mark the day.

Although the public parade was postponed until Nov. 10, NHK public TV said there were 26,000 police providing security on Tuesday.

IMPERIAL FAMILY FUTURE

Naruhito is unusual among recent Japanese emperors since his only child, 17-year-old Aiko, is female and as such cannot inherit the throne under current law. Unless the law is revised, the future of the imperial family for coming generations rests instead on the shoulders of his nephew, 13-year-old Hisahito, who is second in line for the throne after his father, Crown Prince Akishino.

Naruhito’s grandfather, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two, was treated as a god but renounced his divine status after Japan’s defeat in 1945. Emperors now have no political authority.

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Though many Japanese welcomed the enthronement ceremony, some shrugged it off as a nuisance. There was at least one protest with about two dozen people taking part, a small objection compared to the sometimes violent protests when Akihito was enthroned.

“There is no need for such an elaborate ceremony. Traffic has been restricted and it is causing inconvenience for ordinary people,” said Yoshikazu Arai, 74, a retired surgeon.

“The emperor is necessary now as a symbol of the people, but at some point, the emperor will no longer be necessary. Things will be just fine without an emperor.”

Additional reporting by Kwiyeon Ha and Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait and Jane Wardell

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Some Japanese welcome emperor’s proclamation, others shrug

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Emperor Naruhito, 59, the nation’s first monarch born after World War Two, officially proclaimed his enthronement to the world on Tuesday in a centuries-old ceremony attended by hundreds of dignitaries.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito arrives at the Imperial Palace on the day he is formally enthroned, in Tokyo, Japan October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Below are some comments by ordinary Japanese people.

NOBUHIKO YABU, 37, ACCOUNTANT

“It is a new era and the emperor is the support for the Japanese people, so I feel very happy on this day,” Yabu said as he stood near a subway station in pouring rain. Asked about his expectations for the new emperor, he said: “Simply by existing, rather than by doing something, the emperor is a support for our hearts.”

YOSHIKAZU ARAI, 74, RETIRED SURGEON

“There is no need to make such a big fuss … everyone knows it is happening, it’s been reported. There is no need for such an elaborate ceremony. Traffic has been restricted and it is causing inconvenience for ordinary people,” Arai said.

Asked about his hopes for the new emperor, he said he had none. “The emperor is necessary now as a symbol of the people, but at some point, the emperor will no longer be necessary. Things will be just fine without an emperor.”

RYOYA SUZUKI, 25, COMPANY EMPLOYEE

“It’ll be nice if the new emperor will be as kind-hearted as the former emperor and stay close to the people,” Suzuki said in front of the palace. He said he was a car buff and had come especially to see the emperor arrive in his limousine.

TOMOKO SHIRAKAWA, 51, KYOTO RESIDENT

“As he is young and energetic with outstanding leadership, I hope he’ll support the people of Japan, which has faced continuous disasters and typhoons,” said Tomoko Shirakawa, 51, who was waiting in front of the palace.

She said she was visiting Tokyo from the ancient capital of Kyoto, in western Japan, so decided to come to the palace.

JUNKO CHIJIWA, 64, HOUSEWIFE AND DAUGHTER, NATSUKI, 30

“I would like the new emperor to be close to us, the people, and stand with us, just like his father did. I am always moved to see them console disaster victims,” said Chijiwa, who came from her home in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, in hopes of seeing the parade that had been scheduled for after the ceremony.

Japan’s Empress Masako arrives at the Imperial Palace on the day Emperor Naruhito is formally enthroned, in Tokyo, Japan October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The parade was cancelled after Typhoon Hagibis caused huge flooding in parts of northeast Japan.

“I was born in the first year of the Heisei era,” said Chijiwa’s daughter, Natsuki, referring to the imperial era that began in 1989, when Naruhito’s father Akihito inherited the throne and ended when he abdicated on April 30.

“So, this is the first time for me to see a new emperor taking the throne. I have been watching the former emperor standing by the people, and I want the new emperor and empress to inherit that spirit.”

Reporting by Linda Sieg, Kwiyeon Ha and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Paul Tait

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Resurgent Quebec separatist movement rattles Canada election, strips Trudeau of majority

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Quebec separatist party that softened its demands for independence reaped the reward on Monday, mounting a remarkable comeback in Canada’s election that deprived Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of a majority.

FILE PHOTO: Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet reacts after Canada’s federal election in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov/File Photo

The Bloc Quebecois, revitalized under new leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, jumped to 32 seats from 10 seats in the predominantly French-speaking province, according to provisional results. Quebec accounts for 78 seats in the House of Commons, second only to Ontario.

“We have come far but we will go further,” Blanchet told jubilant supporters in the early hours of Tuesday.

The ruling Liberals went into the election seeking to add 10 seats to the 40 they held in Quebec. But the Bloc’s resurgence meant they lost seven, helping reduce Trudeau to a minority.

Blanchet’s party will not be a kingmaker in the new Parliament, however, since the Liberals look set to govern with the left-leaning New Democrats.

Surveys show support for Quebec independence is far below the levels it hit in 1995, when a referendum on breaking away from Canada only just failed.

Blanchet has muted talk of separatism, positioning the Bloc as a party that wants to stand up for Quebec’s interests and the French language in the federal Parliament in Ottawa rather than actively seeking to break up the country.

“The strength Blanchet brings is he projects an image that is not quite as hardcore as the previous leaders. That allows him to draw on a much wider slice of the electorate,” said University of Montreal professor Pierre Martin.

The 54-year-old former provincial minister and media personality said the Bloc wanted to make Parliament work and would back any proposed legislation that was good for Quebec.

“I don’t believe Quebecers and Canadians elected a minority government with the goal of going back to the ballot boxes in 18 months,” he said. “We need to make Parliament work.”

Blanchet – repeating comments he made over the weekend – said Quebec could one day “give itself all the attributes of sovereignty,” while making clear it would not happen during the lifetime of this federal Parliament.

“Our job is not to make Canadian federalism work. Our job … is also not to cause problems,” he said, adding the party would not be servile.

Blanchet is particularly close to Quebec’s nationalist Coalition Avenir Quebec government, which brought in legislation earlier this year banning some public employees from wearing religious symbols.

Trudeau said during a French-language campaign debate that he would be prepared to challenge the law, prompting Blanchet to accuse him of not respecting Quebec.

Jon Pammett, a professor of political science at Carleton University, said Quebec voters were often less predictable than those in other parts of the country.

“There tends to be a kind of movement toward a party which seems to be working to further Quebec’s interests … people are volatile in terms of their party alignments,” he said.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Additional reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Peter Cooney

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U.S. diplomat who questioned ‘crazy’ Ukraine policy to testify in Trump probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump will hear on Tuesday from the top U.S. official in Ukraine, who once said it was “crazy” to withhold military aid for the country for domestic political reasons.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

William Taylor, a former Army officer and career U.S. diplomat now leading the U.S. embassy in Kiev, will be the latest in a series of current and former officials to meet behind closed doors with the Democratic-led House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight Committees in the month since the probe began.

Committee members and staff are examining whether the Republican Trump abused his office by improperly putting pressure on Ukraine to launch an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival and leading candidate for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.

Taylor’s testimony is of particular interest to investigators because of his leading role at the embassy in Ukraine. He raised concern about military assistance being withheld from Kiev to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

The investigation was largely prompted by a whistleblower’s report that Trump may have pressured Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens in a July 25 telephone call.

Taylor mentioned his concern on Sept. 9 to Kurt Volker, the State Department’s former special envoy to Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, in a text message provided to investigators and later made public.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote.

Taylor was tapped to serve as charge d’affaires in Kiev, where he served as U.S. ambassador from 2006 to 2009, after Trump abruptly recalled Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in May after she came under attack from his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Yovanovitch testified in Congress on Oct. 11.

‘IMPORTANT WITNESS’

Committee members said they were eager to hear from Taylor. They want to know about the text messages as well as any telephone calls he may have had with other U.S. officials and with Giuliani, who has played an informal role in U.S. relations with Ukraine.

“We know he’s an important witness because of the exchange of text messages. We know he’s the one who suggested it’s crazy to withhold aid,” said Democratic Representative Ted Deutsch, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Trump has acknowledged many of the central facts related to the telephone call, maintaining that none of it amounted to wrongdoing or a demand for a “quid pro quo,” a Latin phrase meaning a favour in exchange for a favour.

On Monday, Trump exhorted fellow Republicans to get tougher and fight for him, accusing the Democratic-led House of wanting to impeach him “as quick as possible” because he says they cannot defeat him in next year’s election.

Taylor is the first of just two witnesses scheduled to speak with the House committees this week. Lawmakers curtailed their schedule from seven after the death last week of Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Oversight Committee.

A top Department of Defence official, Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper, is due to testify on Wednesday. Cooper has worked on Russia and Ukraine policy at the Pentagon.

The committees made clear they will press ahead despite Cummings’ loss.

Slideshow (4 Images)

“We will continue to pursue the impeachment inquiry with vigour in support of the investigation led by the Intelligence Committee,” Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney, acting chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, said in a statement.

House approval of articles of impeachment would prompt a trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.

Few Republicans have shown any inclination to conduct an inquiry into the president, let alone remove him from the White House.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Paul Tait

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China will monitor U.S. entities list, further open to foreign investment

FILE PHOTO: U.S. and Chinese flags are seen in front of a U.S. dollar banknote featuring American founding father Benjamin Franklin and a China’s yuan banknote featuring late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in this illustration picture taken May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Illustration/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will closely monitor the U.S. “entity list”, which has led to sanctions on a few Chinese tech firms, and take measures to safeguard its rights and interests, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said.

Firms on the U.S. “entity list” are barred from buying U.S. parts and components without U.S. government approval.

Huang Libin, a spokesman for the MIIT, said on Tuesday that China will not close its doors and blindly rely on Chinese-made technology, and it will further open up the telecommunications, internet and auto sectors to foreign investment.

“We will look at the trade friction between China and the United States with an open mind and a big heart,” he told reporters during a briefing.

“We will not blindly emphasize ‘self-reliance’, and not decouple from the development of international industries.”

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Tom Hogue

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