May 25, 2018 / 7:53 AM / a month ago

Daily Briefing: Abortion - landmark referendum for Ireland

LONDON (Reuters) - Many expatriate Irish have headed home to vote in today’s abortion referendum, billed by the country’s liberal prime minister, Leo Varadkar, as a “once in a generation” chance to change its current strict legislation. Voters will be asked if they want to scrap a prohibition that was enshrined in the constitution by referendum 35 year ago, and partly lifted in 2013 only for cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

Garda Pat Mcllroy and presiding officer Nancy Sharkey carry a ballot box back to the boat to the mainland after collecting votes in Ireland's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, on Gola Island, Ireland, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Polls currently suggest a lead for the "Yes" vote.

Polling stations close at 2100 GMT and national broadcaster RTE plans to publish an exit poll at 2230 GMT.

The first indications of the result are expected mid-morning on Saturday, after the count begins at 0800 GMT.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella may have invited little-known law professor Giuseppe Conte to head the country’s next government, but there are signs that he is less than keen about the coalition parties’ attempt to get an 81-year-old eurosceptic installed as finance minister.

A source close to him let it be known yesterday he found the pressure on him to approve Paolo Savona “unacceptable”.

This matters because Savona is on record as saying the way in which the euro was introduced was a big mistake for Europe.

The stand-off is likely to continue at least through today and possibly into the weekend.

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force today.

It has been billed as the biggest shake-up of data privacy laws since the birth of the web.

The pan-EU law aims to give EU citizens more rights to control over their online information and threatens fines of up to 4 percent of a company’s annual revenue for serious infringements.

Computer servers in Singapore July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

Under GDPR, personal data is anything that relates to an identified or identifiable individual: name, address, email address, location data or computer IP address.

Sensitive data, such as religious beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or trade union membership, are subject to extra protections.

MARKETS AT 0655 GMT

World stock markets are set for a second week of losses following U.S. President Donald Trump's U-turn on the North Korea summit.

That came hours after threats to impose more levies on imports of car parts, which hit auto stocks, especially German companies. But markets have been soothed by Pyongyang, which suggested it would remain open to talks. Asian non-Japan stocks closed flat to higher after early losses, as did the Nikkei.

Korean markets closed only 0.2 percent weaker and the won is firmer on the day.

Wall Street slipped on Thursday following the news but only by 0.2 percent, and this morning’s conciliatory stance has pushed the yen down a touch vs the dollar off two week highs.

The dollar, which closed weaker against safe currencies such as the yen and Swiss franc has resumed its rise and is up almost 0.2 percent and approaching recent five-month highs.

The safe-haven dash on top of relatively dovish Fed minutes on Wednesday took U.S. 10-year yields back under 3 percent, where they remain.

If markets continue to calm, the yield is likely to head above 3 percent again today.

 A look at the day ahead from European Economics and Politics Editor Mark John and EMEA markets editor Mike Dolan. The views expressed are their own.

Editing by Larry King

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