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EU Emergency Powers To Force Companies To Prioritise Production And Stockpiles

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The EU is to use emergency powers to deal with the energy crisis in Europe that has arisen as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The announcement on Monday, September 19 indicated that the European Commission is to give emergency powers to members of the bloc to deal with the energy crises. Those powers will allow governments to intervene where necessary it is deemed necessary in the production of strategic and key products, as well as to force companies to stockpile such items.

The proposed Single Market Emergency Instrument has been proposed to deal with the bottlenecks and supply chain problems that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and more recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

These measures are similar to those that have been adopted in the US and in Japan, where both governments have taken steps to protect their supply of key components.

The draft rules, which are likely to be criticised by business organisations and some member countries, allow for the EU and its members to reorganise supply chains and increase supplies of crisis-relevant goods as quickly as possible.

This could see the EU prioritising the manufacture of items it considers critical, as it could the expansion or repurposing of production facilities. The moves are reminiscent of those taken during World War II, although the Commission has been at pains to point out that the time and the needs are different.  

What is unclear is whether the EU will be able to push through the proposal given that it may breach many other regulations and could expose company secrets. Doing so would according to some, see the EU taking a more interventionist approach as is the case in countries like China.

The Commission and many experts disagree, however, saying that the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have highlighted the need for the bloc to become more self-sufficient in protecting its economy and its people.

This could see more EU money being directed into projects that are beneficial for the bloc such as renewable energy and semiconductor manufacture, with some economists believing that the global marketplace has left Europe and the West behind in these areas.

Included in the proposal are fines and sanctions for those companies and organisations that do not comply with the EU’s use of emergency powers.


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1 Dead And 90 Evacuated From A Tower Block Blaze With 'polystyrene' Cladding

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A man has died and 90 other people have been evacuated from a tower block after a fire broke out on the top floor. The tower’s cladding has been likened to a “polystyrene” like material. 

The block of flats, called Twinnell House in Easton, Bristol was attended by emergency workers around 2:15am this morning when a fire broke out on the 16th floor. 

Of the 90 people evacuated, eight people are currently being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns. Three other people are seen to by medics at the scene of the blaze. 

Concerns around the tower’s cladding material had already been raised after the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, when a fire broke out on the 24th floor of the North Kensington block of flats. 

Gina Massiah, a 57 year old legal secretary who used to live in Twinnell House, told the Sun “when they put the cladding up I was quite surprised”. She described it as seeming and appearing like brick, but said that “when you touch it it feels like it is made of polystyrene.” Massiah also revealed that there were “no sprinklers” and “no alarm” in the block of flats. 

Those who lived in Twinnell House, which is completely owned by Bristol City Council, have been provided with a rest centre set up at a nearby church in which the city council are currently providing welfare support to around 40 people. A Bristol City Council spokesperson has said their “thoughts are with the family of the individual who has tragically lost their life in this incident”. 

Yassin Mohamud, the Green party chancellor, said he hadn’t “heard any complaints or requests by residents.” but confirmed that there is “still an ongoing investigation with the fire authority and the police, we will await the outcomes of this report.” 


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Elche's Tribute To Its Former Mayor

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Elche’s tribute to its former mayor. Image: Elche Town Hall

The City Council of Elche has inaugurated the old street “la Figuera” with the new name of “Jose Esclapez Campillo”, located in Torrellano.

The name change is in institutional recognition of the personal and professional career of Jose Esclapez Campillo who became mayor in 2012 until his death in 2017, according to Elche Town Hall.

The Mayor of Elche, Carlos Gonzalez, said: “Pepe Esclapez, as he was known to his neighbours, was president of the Fiestas Committee on several occasions. He was a very active and tireless worker for this town.”

“Jose Esclapez has left a great memory among his neighbours and also in all the people who have had the opportunity to share with him the experiences of his position as mayor of Torrellano.”

The Mayor added: “Today, with this simple but emotional act, we want to remember, thank and recognise a person who was very dear to all of us, for Torrellano and for all the people of Elche.”

“I believe that the street map should be a reflection of what happens in society and the people who are important for that territory and, therefore, based on this reflection we dedicate this street to Pepe Esclapez.”

The Mayor confirmed that “Pepe was always a loyal person who fought at all times to improve the quality of life of the residents of Torrellano, above any other premise.”


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Switzerland Inflict Spain's First Home Defeat In Almost Four Years In Nation's League Disaster

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Image of Spainish national men’s football manager Luis Enrique. Credit: [email protected]

Spain lost at home for the first time in almost four years in their Nation’s League match with Switzerland.

Switzerland dealt a massive blow to Spain’s bid to qualify for next year’s Nations League finals after inflicting a home defeat on Luis Enrique’s side in Zaragoza on Saturday, September 24. This was the men’s national side’s first home loss since 2018 when they lost 3-2 to England in the same competition.

🏁 ¡¡FINAL DEL PARTIDO EN ZARAGOZA!!

Lo intentamos hasta el último segundo, pero caemos por la mínima ante Suiza.

¡¡Viajaremos a Portugal para luchar por el pase a la Final Four y solo nos vale GANAR!!

🇪🇸 🆚 🇨🇭 | 1-2 | 90+5’#VamosEspaña | #NationsLeague pic.twitter.com/z3RC5TnlK3

— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SEFutbol) September 24, 2022

Portugal now top Group A2 after a resounding 4-0 away win against the Czech Republic. Losing to the Swiss now turns the match in Portugal between the two Iberian nations this Tuesday, September 27, into a critical affair for the Spanish. Only one of the teams can progress from the group.

A header from Manuel Akanji put the Swiss in front after 21 minutes. Jordi Alba levelled the scores in the 55th minute, offering the possibility of a comeback. Their hopes were squashed only three minutes later when Eric Garcia, under pressure from Breel Embolo at a corner, turned the ball into his own net to hand the Swiss a famous victory.

Spain had not lost a competitive match in 22 outings across all competitions at the national level until this Saturday. Remarkably, it was only their second home loss since 2003. Luis Enrique now has just a few days to lift the spirits of his players for the Portugal game, where only three points will suffice for the 2021 Nations League runners-up.

Switzerland will face the Czech Republic in the group’s other game, but neither side could overtake Portugal either way.

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