UK finance minister says BoE governor to stay on as Brexit turbulence looms

In this file photo taken on June 27, 2018 Bank of England Governor Mark Carney attends the Bank of England's financial stability report at the Bank of England in central London. Mark Carney will remain Bank of England chief until January 2020 to steer the UK economy through possibly "quite a turbulent period" post-Brexit, finance minister Philip Hammond announced on September 11, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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UK finance minister says BoE governor to stay on as Brexit turbulence looms

LONDON: Mark Carney will stay on as Bank of England governor until the end of January 2020 to help navigate the turbulence of Brexit, Britain's finance minister said on Tuesday, as he warned time was running out to secure a deal with the EU on future ties.
The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, but no agreement has been reached on the terms of its exit. Rivals to Prime Minister Theresa May are circling and some lawmakers are pushing for a rerun of the 2016 referendum.
Finance minister Philip Hammond said the government was devoting all its efforts to securing a deal on a new relationship with the EU. Carney's continued presence at the central bank will help Britain negotiate the aftermath, he said.
"I have been discussing with the governor his ability to be able to serve a little longer in post in order to ensure continuity through what could be quite a turbulent period for our economy in the early summer of 2019," Hammond said.
Carney, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has run the Bank of England since 2013. He gained respect from investors for his handling of the effects of the 2016 Brexit vote.
Since the shock vote to leave, companies have spent millions of pounds to prepare for Brexit. Many chief executives fear Britain could still leave without a deal, a scenario they warn would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Sterling, which tumbled after the 2016 vote, has recently been moving sharply on Brexit news. It reached its highest level since early August on Tuesday amid increased hopes for a deal, but then gave up its gains to stand at $1.3002.
As May tries to clinch a deal with Brussels, she is facing rebels in her Conservative Party who say they will vote down any deal that fails to deliver a sharp break with the EU.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said on Monday that a Brexit deal was possible "within six or eight weeks" if negotiators were realistic in their demands.

BREXIT DEAL?
Hammond warned that time was running out.
"We are working against the clock, we understand that," Hammond told parliament. "We will be working flat out over the coming weeks and months to achieve (a deal)."
May's spokesman said she saw an informal EU summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg next week as a "staging post" in Brexit negotiations that would allow EU leaders to discuss her proposals for the first time.
But business chiefs are worried.
The wrong Brexit deal could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the British car industry, the boss of Jaguar Land Rover said, adding he had no idea whether his plants would be able to operate in Britain after March 29.
"Currently I do not even know if any of our manufacturing facilities in the UK will be able to function on the 30th," Ralf Speth said.
He added that the company would not be able to build cars if customs checks meant that the motorway to and from the southern English port of Dover, which is used to transport components, becomes a "car park" due to snarl-ups.
Under May's proposals, Britain will seek a free-trade area for goods with the EU and accept a "common rulebook" for goods. Rebels say that will keep the UK under the EU's sway for years.
At a presentation by economists who favour Britain's leaving without a deal, Conservative lawmakers who support Brexit warned that May would have to ensure Britain was independent of the EU after Brexit.
Any joint EU-UK political statement, lawmaker Steve Baker said, would have to "point towards an advanced free-trade agreement which leaves us as an independent country".
Boris Johnson, May's former foreign minister and a leading Brexit-supporting rebel, said Britain should not accept EU single market legislation.


Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

Updated 9 min 41 sec ago
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Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

  • hey are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony, and could be jailed for up to five years
  • Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Finns have been arrested on a holiday island in Muslim-majority Malaysia for allegedly distributing pamphlets about Christianity, police said Wednesday, and may face up to five years in jail.
Religion is a deeply sensitive issue in Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the populaton is Muslim, and critics say rising conservatism has chipped away at a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam in recent years.
Authorities detained the two men and two women on Tuesday after receiving complaints from members of the public that they were handing out Christian materials on the popular resort island of Langkawi, said local police chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim.
“Police have arrested four Finnish nationals in Langkawi for allegedly distributing religious material in a public place,” he told AFP.
“They were distributing pamphlets related to Christianity.”
The Finns, aged between 27 and 60, were arrested at a hotel and police seized pens, notebooks and a bag.
They are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony. If found guilty, they could be jailed for between two and five years.
The suspects have been remanded in custody while police investigate.
Langkawi, a jungle-clad island in northwest Malaysia, attracts millions of tourists to its palm-fringed beaches every year.
Malaysia, home to about 32 million people, has sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who have long complained about rising Islamization.
In 2010, three churches were attacked with firebombs, causing major damage to one, as Muslims sought to prevent Christians from using the word “Allah.”
Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots between members of the majority Malay community and ethnic Chinese in 1969.