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Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, Toxic debt, SpaceX

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 31 May 2020

Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, Toxic debt, SpaceX

(Sharecast News) - The EU's chief negotiator has warned Boris Johnson that he must keep his promises if he wants to avoid the double economic hit of a no-deal Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. In an exclusive interview, Michel Barnier accuses the prime minister of backsliding on commitments made in the political declaration. Issuing an ultimatum, he warned that there would not be an "agreement at any cost". - Sunday Times
Royal Bank of Scotland's chairman has called for the creation of a vehicle to clean up toxic debts left by companies unable to repay emergency loans, as fresh signs emerge about the hit to the economy from the coronavirus. Sir Howard Davies warned that a recent survey showed there was a risk that "several billion pounds of public money" might not be paid back from government-backed Covid-19 loans issued since the March 23 lockdown. - Sunday Times

A rocketship named Dragon breathed new fire into America's human spaceflight programme on Saturday, carrying two astronauts on a much-anticipated adventure. The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule from Florida's Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS) marked the first time since 2011 that humans had blasted off into orbit from US soil. - Guardian

The fast fashion retailer Boohoo is facing a $100m (£81m) lawsuit in the US over claims it used fake promotions to mislead shoppers. Lawyers in the US have filed a civil claim against the brand and its subsidiaries, PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal, alleging they engaged in deceptive pricing by running fake sales and promotions. The legal action came in the same week the party dress seller announced a £323m deal to buy out its chairman's son's minority stake in PrettyLittleThing after a short seller attacked how it accounted for cash flow from the subsidiary. - Sunday Telegraph

Ryanair is to slash flight prices by more than half and operate at a loss over the next year in a major attack on struggling rivals, boss Michael O'Leary has revealed. In a pivotal interview with The Mail on Sunday, O'Leary declared he is launching a 'pile them high, sell them cheap' sales blitz to lure passengers as he gobbles up flight routes vacated by other airlines. The Ryanair chief executive hopes his bold recovery plan will convince nervous British families to flock to European holiday hotspots this summer. - Mail on Sunday

Morrisons is proposing a 24% pension contribution rate for chief executive David Potts and chief operating officer Trevor Strain this year, despite the 2018 corporate governance code recommending that executive contribution rates be aligned with those of the rest of the workforce. The majority of Morrisons staff receive 5%. On the basis that no timeline has been given for narrowing the gap, ISS has recommended that shareholders vote against the company's remuneration policy at its annual meeting on June 11. - Sunday Times

Global commodities trader Trafigura is under investigation by US authorities for alleged corruption and market manipulation relating to oil trading, the Guardian has learned. The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is leading a far-reaching probe into the activities of the oil and metals trading house, including its operations in South America. - Guardian

European countries should brace themselves for a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections because the pandemic is not over, the World Health Organisation's top official in Europe has said. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, saying that now is the "time for preparation, not celebration". Dr Kluge stressed that, as the number of cases of Covid-19 in countries such as the UK, France and Italy was beginning to fall, it did not mean the pandemic was coming to an end. The epicentre of the European outbreak is now in the east, with the number of cases rising in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, he warned. - Sunday Telegraph

Dominic Raab has conceded that the nation is at a "sensitive moment" ahead of coronavirus rules easing tomorrow, as a senior academic advising ministers warned "unlocking too fast carries a great risk". Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said that restrictive lockdown measures should be repealed at different times across the country based on local infection rates, rather than via a uniform England-wide approach. - Sunday Times

Donald Trump has announced he will postpone this year's G7 summit and invite other countries - including Russia - to join the talks. The American president said he would also like to invite South Korea, Australia and India to join an expanded summit in Autumn. "I don't feel that as a G7 it properly represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries," Mr Trump told reporters on Air Force One. - Sunday Times


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