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23 August 2019updated 07 Jun 2021 5:07pm

Five things you need to know today: Macron demands international action over Amazon fires

By New Statesman

Macron warns of Amazon fires: “our house is burning”  

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest is an “international crisis” that must be addressed at this weekend’s G7 summit. “Our house is burning. Literally,” Macron tweeted, adding that the Amazon produces 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen. Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro responded by accusing Macron of using the issue for “personal political gain” and said that calls to discuss the fires at the G7 evoked a “misplaced colonialist mindset”.

Irish backstop is “indispensable”, Johnson is warned

The Irish backstop is “indispensable” to a Brexit deal, Emmanuel Macron has warned Boris Johnson, challenging the Prime Minister to outline his alternative. Following the pair’s first meeting in Paris, Macron said that “we should all together be able to find something smart within 30 days if there is goodwill on both sides”. He added that the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, could be involved in finding an answer “without totally reshuffling the withdrawal agreement”.

YouTube shuts down 210 channels targeting Hong Kong protests

YouTube has shut down 210 channels that it said were part of a “coordinated” influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Google-owned service linked its move to previous action by Facebook and Twitter. China has warned that it may be prepared to deploy military force in response to three months of protests, and has compared some activists to “terrorists”. 

EU considers €100bn sovereign wealth fund to finance companies

The EU is considering establishing a €100bn sovereign wealth fund to finance European technology companies to compete with corporate giants such as Apple and Google and China’s Alibaba. According to an internal document seen by the Financial Times, EU civil servants have drafted a plan for a “European Future Fund”  to invest in sectors where Europe trails global rivals. The proposal is part of a series of ideas presented to the incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who enters office on 1 November. 

Cummings should not be allowed to hold office, suggests Tory MP

Boris Johnsons’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings should not have been permitted to take up a Downing Street post, a Conservative MP and Johnson supporter has suggested. Damian Collins, the chair of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, told an audience at the Edinburgh international television festival: “There should be some sanction for those found in contempt of parliament [as Cummings was], including whether they should be considered fit to hold public office.” Cummings, the former director of Vote Leave, was found in contempt after refusing to give evidence to MPs investigating the rise of fake news.

Follow today’s politics on The Staggers blog

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