Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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It was almost as if he had some making up to do. U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was the biggest draw on a Brexit-themed day at the Conservative Party conference. He gave a rousing speech, tearing into opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and saying the “cabinet is united” behind Prime Minister Theresa May and “every syllable” of her recent Florence speech. Can it have been mere weeks since his 4,200-word newspaper intervention, and days since he told The Sun of his Brexit red lines? Amid the contradictions, news emerged that the U.K. fears Brexit talks could fail—and is planning for the worst.

Crisis in Catalonia. Separatists took to the streets of Barcelona on Tuesday to demand independence after declaring victory in a referendum over the weekend. Shops, roads and public transportation were closed. Demonstrators protested the police violence that marked Sunday’s vote. But the independence campaign’s political leaders are stalling on their next move. The European Union is ignoring their calls for mediation.

Mr. Middle East. With American power in the region in retreat, Russia’s military intervention in Syria has boosted its clout. President Vladimir Putin has had a long list of Middle Eastern suitors who hope the Kremlin can secure their interests. The latest will be Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who will this week become the first Saudi monarch to visit Moscow. But as conflicting demands pile up, it’s not easy to send all those visitors home satisfied.

Reykjavik, Iceland.
Photographer: Arnaldur Halldorsson

Left ascendant. Europe’s long-suffering left-wing parties have taken a drubbing in recent elections in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Norway. Now, they could finally catch a break. In Iceland, a collection of socialists, environmentalists and the Pirate Party are looking to unseat the conservative Independence Party in a snap election on Oct. 28, and polls indicate their chances are good. A Left-Green victory could bring about significant change after four years of center-right rule.

Business of banking. When Sergio Ermotti took over as CEO of UBS in 2011, the Swiss bank was still reeling from the financial crisis and a rogue trader’s $2.3 billion loss. Ermotti embarked on a strategic shift to build the world’s largest wealth manager. Now almost half the world’s billionaires bank with UBS. We sat down with Ermotti to talk strategic vision, technology, and the one trait that all billionaires share.

Existential threat. Uber’s new chief executive officer touched down in London today ready to face an irate regulator, divided drivers, galvanized rivals and a key regional manager who has just announced her exit. Dara Khosrowshahi came to the U.K. capital for an emergency meeting Tuesday with transportation authorities. The CEO is trying to salvage the company’s business in its largest European market after Transport for London revoked its operating license.

King of bling. Rolex is the world’s most valuable watch brand, according to annual rankings published by Kantar Millward Brown. The Geneva-based company doesn’t figure among the world’s top-100 most valuable brands overall, but among luxury purveyors it ranks No. 5 (behind brand such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Gucci) and is the only company in the top 10 whose sole product is watches.

Source: Hodinkee

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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