11 August: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda
- CureVac, one of Germany’s leading contenders to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, said it aims to raise up to $245 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the U.S. Nasdaq, Reuters reports. The biotech firm said on Monday it plans to offer a total of up to 15.33 million new shares, adding they would likely be priced at between $14.00 and $16.00 apiece. Majority owner Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of Software giant SAP, has pledged to inject an additional 100 million euros ($117 million) at IPO conditions. At the mid-point of the price range, CureVac is expected to be valued at roughly $2.7 billion, based on a company filing.
- Greece on Monday accused NATO ally Turkey of "threatening peace" in the eastern Mediterranean after Ankara resumed searching for oil and gas near the remote Greek island of Kastellorizo, Deutsche Welle reports. The Greek foreign ministry said that Turkey's decision to deploy a seismic research ship constituted a "new serious escalation" and "exposed" Turkey's "destabilising role." The Greek ministry said the country "will defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights."
- Slovakia is to expel three staff from the Russian embassy in the capital, Bratislava, with local media reporting it is related to the murder of a Georgian man in Berlin last year, the BBC reports. Authorities cited the abuse of Slovak visas as reason for the expulsions. Germany has accused Russia of ordering the murder of the former Chechen rebel Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. The 40-year-old was shot dead in broad daylight last August in Berlin's Kleiner Tiergarten park.
- Barely six months after Britain broke away from the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is increasingly consumed with trying to stop the breakaway of restive parts of the United Kingdom, the New York Times says. On Friday, Mr. Johnson sent his popular Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, to Scotland, to tamp down nationalist sentiment that has surged there in recent months. Another top minister, Michael Gove, went to Northern Ireland with nearly $500 million in aid to help frustrated companies deal with new checks on shipped goods. Experts have long predicted that Brexit would strengthen centrifugal forces that were pulling apart the union. But in Scotland, in particular, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated those forces, forcing Mr. Johnson to mount an elaborate — some say belated — charm offensive with the Scottish public.
- Germany’s Social Democrats on Monday proposed Olaf Scholz, the finance minister and the party’s most popular politician, to run to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in next year’s national election, when her fourth and final term is expected to end, Reuters says. The decision marks a comeback for the former Hamburg mayor, who was last year defeated by two left-wing outsiders in the race to lead the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the junior partner in Merkel’s conservative-led ruling coalition. “The question now is what path Germany takes after the coronavirus crisis,” Scholz told a news conference after the announcement. “Is it one of rebuilding and strengthening our social state, or one that throws it all into question?”