In a high-risk mission, six bodies have been recovered from Whakaari island in New Zealand. Photo: Shutterstock
New Zealand body recovery; UK election exit polls; China-US deal in principle; Green Deal divisions and space trash collection mission. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Bodies recovered from NZ volcano island
A team of experts on Friday recovered the bodies of six people who died during an eruption on Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand on 9 December, the NZ Herald reports. A total 16 people are thought to have died, including 14 Australian citizens. 28 people remain in hospital of which 25 are in a critical condition. Individuals from a tour company could be prosecuted under New Zealand’s workplace health and safety laws if failings are found. This article on The Guardian explains how hard it is to predict eruptions on the island.
Conservatives ahead in UK elections
The UK Conservative Party was on course to win an overall majority in Thursday’s general election, according to exit polls. At the time of writing, the party was expected to win 368 seats, giving it an 86-seat majority. If the poll proves accurate, it would be the biggest Conservative majority for the party since Margaret Thatcher, The Guardian writes.
More on this from Politico, the BBC and FT (paywall). And a Politico opinion piece examines 12 people and things that ruined British politics. EU diplomats took the exit poll results as a sign of clarity over Britain’s stalled departure from the EU, Reuters reports. The FT (paywall) considers how this will make a new trade deal difficult.
China-US deal in principle
The White House and Beijing have reached a “deal in principle” to end the trade war. Under the accord, the US offered to halt new tariffs expected to enter into force on Sunday and cut existing tariffs on Chinese goods by up to 50%. In exchange, China is expected to commit to increasing its imports on US agricultural goods. More on this from the BBC, The Guardian and the FT (paywall).
EU green deal divisions
Poland is asking for billions in financial aid and Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic called for freedom to rely more on nuclear power as conditions for accepting the net-zero emissions target. Speaking at an energy summit in Brussels on Thursday, Poland’s leader argued it would need extra time to make the green transition. The resistance comes a day after the European Commission unveiled its “European Green Deal”, pledging carbon neutrality by 2050. More on this from the FT (paywall) and Politico.
ECB chief says no need to panic
New European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde has said the institution will stick to her predecessor Mario Draghi’s plan to re-start quantitive easing to encourage growth. Speaking after her first policy meeting in post, Lagarde said a wide-ranging strategic review expected to start in January would examine tools to stimulate growth. She did not exclude the possibility of a fresh stimulus package for the eurozone. More on this story from The Guardian and FT (paywall).
Marijuana in baseball
Major League Baseball is to remove marijuana from a list of banned substances. Players who test positive for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic THC will be referred for treatment before being disciplined in an effort to tackle growing opioid addiction, Reuters reports.
A new country
After residents of a small island in the South Pacific voted 97.7% in favour of independence from Papua New Guinea, Euronews examines the next steps for creating a new country.
Space trash collectors
The European Space Agency has awarded ClearSpace a €100m contract for an in-space debris removal mission. The Swiss startup will launch ClearSpace-1 in 2025 to remove the payload adaptor that delivered the ESA spacecraft Proba-V, a 100-kilo object that has been orbiting the earth at 800 km/hr since 2013. More from The Guardian.
On Friday in Luxembourg, tests were expected to begin on a new average speed cameras on the N11 in Waldhof/Gonderange.
Rail commuters from France face ongoing issues as French strikes enter their eighth day, reducing the number of trains running to one third of the usual service. Some 92 shuttle buses were expected to operate the Nancy-Metz-Thionville-Luxembourg line. Starting Monday, passengers will have to switch trains at Thionville because of a shortage of ERTMS-adapted trains in the fleet.
On Monday, Luxembourg prepares for a visit from Mark Esper, a member of the Trump administration, former German president Joachim Gauck, Belgian pm Sophie Wilmès and Polish president Andrzej Duda, who will attend a memorial at the US Luxembourg military cemetery in Hamm as part of Battle of the Bulge commemorations.