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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to block the transit of gas and goods to Europe if the EU imposes further sanctions on his regime because of the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border.
Lukashenko responded to an announcement by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, on Wednesday that the bloc would extend sanctions and accused Minsk of a “cynical geopolitical power game” aimed at bringing migrants to the EU’s borders smugglers to destabilize them.
Lukashenko warned on Thursday that he would react to “unacceptable” sanctions.
“We are heating up Europe and they are threatening to close the border,” he said, according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta. “What if we turn them off? . . We shouldn’t stop at anything to defend our sovereignty and independence. “
Lukashenko’s remarks came as European gas prices skyrocketed amid concerns about low supplies ahead of winter.
Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Gary
Five more stories on the news
1. Foreign home ownership tripled The number of homes in England and Wales owned by foreign buyers has nearly tripled in the last decade as residents of tax havens and Asia bought into the UK property market, raising concerns that wealthy offshore investors are priceing local residents out. Hong Kong was the largest source of buyers.
2. Tory MPs accuse Johnson of hypocrisy Boris Johnson, who earlier this week ordered MPs to “focus primarily on their constituents” instead of doing secondary jobs, has for the past 14 years, according to the Financial Times ‘calculations based on MPs’ register of financial interests
3. Sweden is no longer outstanding from the pandemic, says Tegnell While a commission is investigating Sweden’s Covid-19 response, epidemiologist Anders Tegnell – the architect of its early ‘no lockdown’ approach – tells the FT that the country had one of the lower excess mortality rates in Europe while it was closer on other measures take the mean.
4th Hungary imposes fuel price cap as inflation rises Hungary will cap gasoline and diesel prices from Monday as the country tries to control rising inflation, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said ahead of next year’s likely highly competitive elections.
5. Uber CEO flies to London amid driver shortage Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spent 24 hours in London this week – his first international trip during the pandemic – as the ride-hailing giant faces a 20,000 driver shortage ahead of the Christmas peak season.
A Thaw between the US and China on climate cooperation changed the mood at COP26, even if the joint declaration did not contain any major commitments.
The negotiators hurry up the rules for a World market for carbon, known as Article 6.
Eight of Europe leading business schools put rivalries aside to form an alliance for education, research and operations to combat climate change.
Opinion: We shouldn’t rashly dismiss “blah, blah, blah” on the subject of the climate, writes Gillian Tett.
Thank you to the readers who shared their thoughts on the progress – or lack of it – at COP26. From reader John Bittleston in Singapore:
“Has there been enough significant progress made at COP26? Obviously not, but the spread of cooperation and the US-China deal suggest that cooperation is the buzzword now. This is a big step forward “
The day ahead
Libya Conference French President Emmanuel Macron will host an international Libya conference in Paris today. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is also expected to participate. (Reuters)
India inflation The consumer price index is expected to remain stable today, but the release will be watched closely for any final hints on inflation ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s rate-fixing meeting in December. (Reuters, FT)
Merits AstraZeneca reports today, with investors seeking clarity on whether the drug maker plans to sell its Covid-19 vaccine after the pandemic ends. Deutsche Telekom, Mizuho, Rakuten, Sumitomo Mitsui and Toshiba will also report results.
What else we read and look at
First class broking clamps for a new era European and US banks have long used prime broking, a business with stable, if unspectacular returns, to build more lucrative relationships with hedge funds. Credit Suisse’s decision to get out of business in the aftermath of the collapse of Archegos Capital shows how the industry is changing.
Weakened UK economy emerges from Covid fog Has the economy regained the ground it lost during the crisis or was the damage so great that it will take two years to return to pre-pandemic levels? According to the Bureau of National Statistics, both statements are correct, writes Chris Giles.
Can the Vatican reform its finances? An FT film examines the finances of the Holy See and ponders how a breakthrough case related to a controversial London real estate deal could impact Pope Francis’ reforms in the city-state.
India’s ID system keeps warnings in place for the world Aadhaar’s biometric digital identification system has fueled India’s explosive online activity. But it has also enabled the mass surveillance infrastructure to be built piecemeal, writes John Thornhill.
Parties are back – but what are the rules? Our shut-in days are over and that means a return to old routines – and parties. As the spirit of conviviality returns to New York and London, Esquire editor-in-chief Alex Bilmes asks: Can things ever be the same again?
What’s your favorite book in 2021? The FT wants reader recommendations for the best reading of the year. The answers will be published as part of our Books of the Year series, which selected a number of FT authors and critics.
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