Al-Qaida Names New North Africa Leader, Reports Kidnap Death

Italy’s Confindustria Sees Second Recession Risk as Virus Flares

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The Italian economy is at risk of a second recession, with a contraction forecast in the fourth quarter due to soft lockdown measures to counter a resurgence of the coronavirus, industry lobby Confindustria said in a report.

The impact of the lockdown in regions including Lombardy — home of the financial capital Milan — should be contained compared with the decline in gross domestic product in the first two quarters of 2020, given that many businesses remain open, Confindustria said Saturday.

A rapid rebound in industrial output was interrupted in September and October, and there could be a moderate decline in the fourth quarter, the report said.

The Italian government is seeking parliamentary approval for 8 billion euros ($9.5 billion) ofextra deficit this year, as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte battles to shield the fragile economy from the pandemic. Conte’s cabinet approved the request to parliament late Friday night.

The government also signed off on a third package of aid, worth 1.95 billion euros, for 2020, mainly for shops and businesses hit by the lockdown.

Discover Something Magical on this Train Journey

On a continent where taking things slowly is compulsory, it won’t come as much of a surprise the 46-hour journey along the 1160-mile (1860km) route from Tanzania’s port city to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia often ends up taking far longer. Then again, few trains in the world offer the chance of spotting big game from your seat, but the Tazara (Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority) does exactly that. For many, the highlight is neither the scenery nor the wildlife, though; it is the chance to spend two days watching everyday life out of the window, and enjoying the clamour and chaos when the train pulls to a halt, scheduled or unscheduled.

Universal Credit: Sunak hints at extending £20 increase past 2021 as 700,000 face poverty

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Rishi Sunak has said he will keep considerations of making the Universal Credit coronavirus boost permanent “under review”. The Chancellor was questioned on Sky News over the Government’s £20-a-week increase of the scheme payments, which is due to end in April 2021. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that could push 700,000 people, including 300,000 children, into poverty.

Mr Sunak said: “It runs all the way through to April so there’s no need to make a decision on it now.

“We keep everything under review and we’ll make the decisions that are right for the economy.

“One thing we know and have learnt is that this virus is adapting and evolving, and our ability to combat is is adapting and evolving.

“So there’s an enormous amount of uncertainty at the moment.”

More to follow…

Protesters Start a Fire in Guatemala’s Congress Building

Anti-government protesters stormed Guatemala’s congress and set part of the building on fire.

Video published by El Pais showed flames and thick black smoke coming out of the structure.

Demonstrators are protesting about corruption and lack of oversight of the $12.8 billion 2021 budget, which was approved by congress in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

President Alejandro Giammattei pledged “the full force of the law” against people who vandalize public property.

U.K.’s Sunak Says Constructive Brexit Deal Will ‘Hopefully’ Come

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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak signaled he is optimistic that a Brexit trade agreement with the European Union will be reached.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, he said “hopefully” negotiations will end in a “constructive” place.

He was clear that in the “short term,” failure to get a trade agreement with the bloc would be a problem. A deal that comes into force when the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31 would be “preferable,” he said, but added: “We should not be going for a deal at any price.”

Al-Qaida Names New North Africa Leader, Reports Kidnap Death

Dakar, Senegal (AP) — Al-Qaida’s North African branch said it has appointed a new leader after confirming the death of its former chief, who was killed in June by French forces, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Washington-based group, which monitors jihadist sites, said in a video published Saturday, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, showed the dead body of its former leader, Abdelmalek Droukdel, for the first time.

AQIM also said that Yazid Mubarak, also known as Abu Ubaida Yusuf al-Annabi, is the new leader. Droukdel was killed in Mali by French forces who had been hunting him in the Sahel region for years.

Al-Qaida’s North African branch also confirmed the death of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who had been captured in January 2016 from Mali’s northern city of Timbuktu. The group attributed her death to a failed attempt by “French crusaders” to free her, and also held the Swiss government responsible for “delaying the issue and making ‘futile efforts’” according to SITE.

AQIM has made millions of dollars abducting foreigners for ransom over the years and has made large swaths of West Africa too dangerous for aid groups to access.

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Groups, said via Twitter that Yusuf al-Annabi’s appointment as the new leader of AQIM is not surprising, given that he has been featured by the group in its propaganda over the past few years and has been involved in its core operations.