Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Porsche asks UK buyers to commit to 10% no-deal Brexit surcharge

Company says move is a precaution in case WTO tariffs apply to EU-UK trade

Porsche is asking British customers to sign a contract committing them to pay a surcharge of up to 10% of their vehicles’ purchase price if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Cars made in Europe could attract tariffs of 10% if imported to the UK under the terms of the World Trade Organization, the default trading relationship if the UK and the EU are unable to agree a transition period before 29 March.

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News review – Friday 15 February 2019

News review – Friday 15 February 2019

For readers looking forward to Viv Evans’
Daily Brexit piece, she has asked me to say
it won’t be appearing as she is unwell.

Brexit

Mail
Theresa May suffered another Brexit humiliation tonight as she was brutally savaged by Tory MPs from both wings of her party. The PM had tabled an apparently bland motion that was designed to give her a mandate to push on with her plan to return to the EU and get more concessions on the Irish border backstop.  But it was interpreted in wildly different ways by the warring factions in Parliament, and Mrs May crashed to defeat by a huge margin of 303 to 258. Furious Eurosceptics abstained claiming she was sneakily trying to take no deal off the table.  As any hopes of a Tory love-in for Valentine’s Day were shattered, Remainers also snubbed her for the opposite reason, that she was not dismissing the idea of crashing out. In total 66 Tories went missing for the showdown, while five actively opposed her.    Summing up the pincer movement Mrs May found herself caught in, both arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson and his pro-EU brother Jo abstained.

Guardian
Theresa May has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of hardline Eurosceptics, plunging her hopes of uniting the Conservatives around a renegotiated Brexit deal into chaos. The prime minister failed to win support for her EU strategy after the European Research Group (ERG), led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, abstained on a government motion because it appeared to rule out a no-deal Brexit. The defeat marks the end of a temporary truce over Brexit among Conservative MPs, who had voted last month in favour of May’s strategy if she could obtain some concessions from Brussels on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

Telegraph
Theresa May has said a no-deal Brexit is “more likely” after Tory Eurosceptics condemned her to another humiliating Commons defeat. The brief Tory truce over Brexit was shattered as 66 Conservatives – including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab – abstained in a vote over the Government’s way forward, which Mrs May lost by 303 votes to 258.

Mirror
Theresa May has been dealt a major defeat over her Brexit strategy after 71 Tory Leavers openly rebelled in a Commons vote. MPs voted 303-258 not to “reiterate” backing for her strategy to secure changes to the ‘backstop’ in the 585-page Brexit deal. It’s not legally binding – but leaves Mrs May weakened just as she had to put up a united front against Brussels. Mrs May hoped tonight’s vote would give her more time and a mandate return renegotiate parts of her deal, 43 days before we leave the EU on March 29. But rebels led by Jacob Rees-Mogg abstained on tonight’s motion, because they said it effectively endorsed a promise to “reject” no-deal Brexit.

Huffington Post
MPs racing to stop a no-deal Brexit could force Theresa May to hand back control to parliament in mid-March if the UK is still on course to crash out.  Labour MP Yvette Cooper, with a cross-party alliance that includes Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, is aiming to carve out parliamentary time for a Brexit plan B, which could see Article 50 suspended and leaving the bloc delayed. The government is due to table a motion by February 25 setting out the next steps on Brexit, with the PM trying to renegotiate her Brexit deal with the EU so that it will be acceptable to Tory hardliners and the DUP. Cooper has said if May fails to present a viable plan then she and others will try to amend that motion and ask MPs to back her private members’ bill plan.

Huffington Post
A cross-party attempt to take control of Brexit and rule out no deal is a “Trojan horse” for stopping Britain’s exit from the EU, a senior Labour MP has said. Caroline Flint said the Yvette Cooper-led move could open the door to “game playing” by politicians who want to overturn the 2016 referendum result, and criticised the Labour leadership’s “high handed” decision to back it in the February 27 ‘high noon’ Brexit votes without consulting MPs. Appearing on HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast, Flint said the so-called “Cooper 2” amendment was “even worse” than her party colleague’s first attempt, which was rejected by a majority of 23 last month after a Labour rebellion led by the Don Valley MP.  Flint, who backed Remain but has been holding talks with government ministers about supporting the Brexit deal, also urged Jeremy Corbyn to give Labour a free vote on EU withdrawal to keep hold of MPs who are “hellbent” on leaving the party.

Independent
The majority of the country’s Brexit experts believe Theresa May will get her deal through the House of Commons, a new poll seen by The Independent reveals. The Brexit policy panel, a cross-disciplinary group of some of the 100 most prominent academics on the issue, were asked to forecast what would happen in the coming months as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.  A total of 60 per cent of respondents said they believed Ms May was likely to get her deal approved by MPs, the survey by The UK in a Changing Europe initiative found, a significant increase from previous polls. Interestingly only 40 per cent of the panel believed the prime minister would be able to secure support by 29 March – the date Britain is set to the leave the European Union – indicating a significant proportion believe an extension to Article 50 might be required.

Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May will continue to seek changes to her Brexit deal, a spokesman for her office said, after she suffered a symbolic defeat in parliament on her strategy. “The government will continue to pursue this with the EU to ensure we leave on time on 29th March,” the spokesman said. The spokesman said May believed her Conservative lawmakers still wanted her to renegotiate the deal, but had voted against her on Thursday because they were concerned about the prospect of taking a ‘no deal’ off the table at this stage.

‘Project Fear’

Star
BREXIT may lead to a military confrontation in Europe, warned a top Labour politician. Britain’s future generations could be forced into battle due to mistakes by politicians today, claimed Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis. He said: “My fear is this, if we walk away from Europe now my children, your children, or possibly our grandchildren but probably our children could be back in Europe in a few years’ time – but in uniform. “And I don’t want to see that happen.” Speaking at a “Love socialism, hate Brexit” event, he said Labour were at risk of being “utterly and comprehensively destroyed” at the next general election if they allow Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass. While refusing to turn on Jeremy Corbyn he did say that the party are “sending some mixed messages out there and that is truly dangerous.”

Irish backstop

Times
Britain will soften its demand that the EU reopen the Brexit withdrawal agreement to solve the Irish backstop issue, The Times has learnt. The Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay suggested to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier during talks this week that the government could accept legal guarantees that fell short of renegotiating the draft withdrawal treaty. The revelation will enrage Brexiteers, who inflicted another defeat on Theresa May last night before she has further talks in Brussels next week. MPs rejected a motion supporting the government’s EU negotiating strategy by a majority of 45. There was a coordinated show of strength by the Tory Brexiteer European Research Group that meant more than 50 Brexiteers withheld their support.

EU

Independent
Brussels is to move forward with plans for a new European Labour Agency that would police work standards for immigrants across the bloc. The new EU authority will help crack down on undeclared work by EU migrants – a practice sometimes accused of driving down conditions and wages for foreign and domestic workers alike. The authority will also help member states resolve cross-border disputes, provide information for workers and employees alike about cross-border working, and help enforce EU law. There are estimated around 17 million EU nationals working in EU countries other than their own. Under the proposals agreed by negotiators for the European Parliament and European Council participation in the authority will be voluntary. The plan must be formally signed off by member states and MEPs.

Express
A GERMAN European Commissioner has criticised Angela Merkel’s government for not committing enough to the EU. Günther Oettinger has accused his country, which is the EU’s largest economy, of a lack of commitment to funding for Brussels which the ruling coalition had pledged in 2018. Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is sharing power with the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) and the left wing Social Democrats (SPD). Mr Oettinger told Austrian finance news website he feels “relatively little” about the German government’s promises on a new beginning for Europe laid out in the coalition contract.

Westmonster
The economic outlook in Germany continues to look pretty dismal, with the country only narrowly avoiding a fall into recession. The German economy dipped by -0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, and flatlined at 0.0% by the end of the year. The country is now teetering on the brink of a recession, with German industry desperately anxious about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal. Italy is in recession and European economies need a deal with Britain. The UK government must hold its nerve, demand changes to any deal and be prepared to walk away.

Labour Party

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn will visit Brussels next week for talks in a bid to circumvent the Brexit deadlock in Westminster. The Labour leader is expected to meet EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier and European Parliament Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt. The visit – far from Mr Corbyn’s first to the EU capital – comes after senior EU figures have spoken out to welcome Labour’s proposals for a softer Brexit than the one planned by Theresa May. Mr Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand said earlier this week that Labour’s plans deserved to be examined, while European Council president Donald Tusk is said to have spoken well of the proposals in a private meeting with Theresa May.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn will hold talks in Brussels next week with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, as he seeks to break the Brexit impasse and persuade Theresa May to sign up to a customs union. The visit is likely to be highly unwelcome in Downing Street, and risks accusations that Labour is pursuing its own shadow negotiations, undermining the prime minister’s hopes of fresh EU concessions. May will be in Brussels in the same week to meet the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker. The UK attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, is expected to travel with her.

Express
Labour is braced for a walkout of eight Remainer MPs as early as Monday after the party was plunged into fresh conflict over Brexit. Rebels are gearing up to form a breakaway group as tensions flare over Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Britain’s departure from the EU. It comes as up to ten shadow ministers are reportedly planning to resign from the frontbench if the Labour leader refuses to back a second referendum. Party splits boiled over in a heated outburst in the Commons from Chris Leslie, one of the backbenchers believed to be involved in planning a new party. In a public attack on Mr Corbyn, he claimed “we are being played for fools by the leadership of the Labour Party” and told MPs the divisions over Brexit were “heartbreaking.” Mr Leslie criticised the wording of his party leadership’s proposals to change Theresa May’s next steps Brexit plan because it did not include the option of another Brexit referendum.

Times
Fears of a split in the Labour Party grew yesterday as a shadow minister predicted retribution from voters if the party facilitated a Conservative Brexit deal. Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister who is on the left of the party, said that Labour could suffer severe ramifications if it helped pass Theresa May’s agreement in the Commons. Labour MPs who support another EU referendum said that the chances of a split had risen after growing antagonism between backbenchers and the leadership over Brexit and the handling of antisemitism claims. Last night more than 40 Labour MPs rebelled to support an SNP amendment to extend the Article 50 process, which commits Britain to leaving the European Union by March 29.

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn suffered a major revolt when 41 Labour MPs backed an SNP call for an “immediate” move to delay Brexit by extending Article 50. The Labour leader ordered his MPs to abstain – but he was defied by the 41 who voted with the Scottish Nationalists for a suspension of “no fewer than three months”, past 29 March. The revolt came after fresh confusion about Mr Corbyn’s stance on seeking an Article 50 extension, which would have to be agreed by all other 27 EU countries. It came moments before Theresa May was hit by another humiliating defeat, when hardline anti-EU Tories refused to back her “approach to leaving the EU”. The European Research Group (ERG) sparked a fresh crisis for the prime minister, refusing to “reiterate” support because they feared she would use it to rule out a no-deal Brexit.  It left her unable to claim she has a Commons mandate for her attempt to renegotiate the Irish backstop – something the EU has refused to do so far.

Mail
Theresa May hit back at Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell last night after he refused to apologise for calling Winston Churchill a ‘villain’. The Prime Minister, who has a portrait of Churchill on the wall of her study, hailed Britain’s wartime PM for his ‘leadership and determination’. She argued his ‘unwavering personality’ had ‘inspired our country through our darkest hour’. Mr McDonnell had branded Sir Winston a ‘villain’ on Wednesday night and blamed him for sending troops to deal with rioting Welsh miners in Tonypandy in 1910 when he was home secretary. Mr McDonnell appeared to argue that the incident eclipsed Churchill’s World War II heroics in saving Britain — and Europe — from Nazism.

Times
John McDonnell has defended his description of Winston Churchill as a villain over his role on the Tonypandy riots, saying he was just being honest. Mr McDonnell did acknowledge that Churchill was a war hero but said there was “another side” to him that should be taught more often. Chris Williamson, another Labour MP, agreed that Churchill was a “villain” who had been “in the right place at the right time” during the Second World War. Mr McDonnell has come under pressure to withdraw comments he made on Wednesday when he was asked at an event hosted by the Politico website whether Churchill was a hero or villain. “Tonypandy: villain,” he replied.

Health

Times
NHS staff suffer from “learned helplessness” in a dysfunctional system, the chairman of NHS England has said in an attack on 25 years of flawed health policies. As accident and emergency units reported their worst waiting times on record, Lord Prior of Brampton gave a scathing assessment of the system over which he presides. He said that such targets had “had their day” and that they contributed to the erosion of the vocational culture of the NHS. He said that targets, competition and reliance on inspectors had all led to a disjointed system and demoralised staff. A series of NHS reforms that have broken up the health service into autonomous hospitals “makes driving an integrated strategy across the NHS almost impossible”, he added.

Mirror
A&E waiting times in England have reached their worst level since records began, data shows. Figures from NHS England show that, during January, just 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted in four hours, against a 95% target. This means nearly 330,000 patients waited longer than they should, and comes despite lower levels of flu and norovirus than last year. The data shows that 83,519 people in January endured very long waits – often called trolley waits – to be admitted to hospital. After a decision had been taken to admit them, this group waited four hours or more before a ward bed was found for them. The last time the 95% target – which was introduced in 2004 – was hit was in July 2015.

Sun
HALF of dementia sufferers may be helped by a cannabis-based mouth spray, experts claim. British researchers want to test whether the peppermint-flavoured treatment can reduce agitation experienced by many with the disease.  Around 850,000 Brits currently have dementia – and the figure is expected to hit one million within a decade. There is currently no cure, although some drugs can limit the symptoms. As well as memory problems and confusion, half of dementia  victims experience challenging behaviour, such as raised aggression. Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding a £300,000 trial into whether the drug Sativex can help ease these changes. The cannabis-based drug is currently licensed for use in the UK for treating patients with MS. Scientists from King’s College London are now recruiting volunteers with Alzheimer’s who are living in care homes and have symptoms of agitation.

Education

Times
Less than 5 per cent of students at most universities are poor and white, according to a report that says only Gypsies are less likely to get a place. There would be almost 10,000 more students in higher education if all universities ensured that at least 5 per cent of their intake was white and from a “low-participation neighbourhood”, the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon) said. These are students from areas with little history of university entrance and are usually economically deprived. The network suggested that 54 per cent of institutions met the 5 per cent figure. Further education colleges are a more common destination for young people from poor backgrounds taking higher education courses.

Jihadi bride

Times
Shamima Begum will be viewed as a security threat, a target for right-wing extremists and a magnet for Islamist hardliners if she is able to return to Britain, counterterrorism officials said yesterday. Police and security agencies are assessing how best to deal with the jihadi bride should she achieve her wish to return home and live a quiet life with the child she is expecting imminently. The initial reaction of the authorities would be to decide whether to prosecute her for terrorism offences. Scotland Yard has conducted an assessment of the activities of all those known to have travelled to join Islamic State and whether they can bring charges.

The post News review – Friday 15 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Anti-Semitic attacks rose sharply in Germany in 2018, report says

Anti-Semitic offences rose almost 10 percent in Germany last year, and violent attacks were up more than 60 percent, crime statistics showed Wednesday.

The EU looks like the Soviet Union in 1991 – on the verge of collapse | George Soros

In May’s European elections, anti-EU forces will be on the rise. Those who want to preserve the union’s values must wake up

Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion and its people need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991. Neither our leaders nor ordinary citizens seem to understand that we are experiencing a revolutionary moment, that the range of possibilities is very broad, and that the eventual outcome is thus highly uncertain.

Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so. In a long and eventful life, I have witnessed many periods of what I call radical disequilibrium. We are living in such a period today.

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News review – Monday 11 February 2019

News review – Monday 11 February 2019

Brexit

Express  (by Patrick O’Flynn)
A SORE tooth is enough to put anyone in a bad mood. A sore Tusk, however, is a temperamental event on an altogether bigger scale. And there is no doubt Donald Tusk, President of the EU Council of Ministers, was feeling very sore when he made his spectacularly undiplomatic outburst against Brexit campaigners, wondering what “special place in hell” lies in wait for us. Tusk is usually a cool character. So while many observers were swept up in the reaction to his remarks, others asked themselves what had brought them about and what the outburst tells us about the pressure on the Brussels high command as Britain’s March 29 leaving date looms. The trail, fascinatingly, leads back to a plot to stop Brexit spearheaded by none other than former PM Tony Blair. EU insiders tell me that Tusk allowed himself to become convinced Brexit was going to be overturned after a plan was constructed between senior Brussels figures and British pro-Remain politicians, led by Blair, that seemed to be working perfectly. Part of the plan involved Brussels playing hardball in negotiations, so that the deal Theresa May was able to put in front of MPs was profoundly unappetising. That advice to Brussels was relayed by a stream of pro-Remain visitors from the heart of the British establishment.

Express
SECRET talks have begun between the UK and EU to prepare the way for a managed no-deal Brexit, sources in Brussels have claimed. It is also understood that the World Trade Organisation has opened the door to a route for the EU and UK to continue trading on an interim basis in the event of no deal being reached by March 29. The revelations come as leading pro-Brexit lawyers have warned that extending Article 50 would be a “blackmailer’s charter” for the EU. Senior figures in Brussels have said that officials at UK Rep – the British embassy in Brussels – have been “putting out feelers” for extending Article 50, but “only to deliver a managed no-deal”.

Telegraph
Theresa May has agreed to hold fresh talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s over his plans for a soft Brexit that would keep Britain tied to the Single Market after Brexit and locked in a customs union with the EU. In a letter to the Labour leader, the Prime Minister did not rule out Mr Corbyn’s demand for a “permanent” customs union although she said it would present a “negotiating challenge”. She also agreed to talks on Mr Corbyn’s call for “close alignment” with the Single Market, as well as committing to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow EU rules on workers’ rights and environment standards​.​

Times
Theresa May opened the door last night to a soft Brexit by engaging with Jeremy Corbyn on a customs union in a move that puts her at risk of losing the support of members of her cabinet. In a letter to the Labour leader, the prime minister suggested that their parties hold further talks on the issue of a permanent customs union in an attempt to win support from Labour MPs for her Brexit plan. She also offered guarantees on environmental and employment laws, addressing more of the opposition’s central demands.

Mirror
Theresa May will offer MPs the chance to copy EU rules on workers’ rights after Brexit as she bids to win Labour support for her withdrawal deal. The Prime Minister’s move will be seen as an olive branch as she desperately seeks backing for her pact after its crushing Commons defeat last month. The Tory leader is set to deny MPs a fresh “meaningful vote” until next month – edging closer to the March 29 withdrawal deadline.

BBC News
Theresa May has responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s letter setting out his five demands for a Brexit deal. The prime minister queried his call for the UK to stay in a customs union with the EU – but welcomed more talks with Labour on a Brexit agreement. Mrs May wants the two parties to discuss how “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop – a commitment to avoid a hard border – could work. She did not reject any of his conditions outright in her reply.

Guardian
Theresa May has effectively ruled out Labour’s ideas for a compromise Brexit plan, shutting off another potential route to a deal as business groups warned that with less than 50 days to go the departure process was entering the “emergency zone”. The prime minister’s formal response to Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal, in a letter to the Labour leader, stressed her objections to keeping the UK in some form of customs union, saying this would prevent the UK making its own trade deals. But in an apparent renewed bid to win over wavering Labour MPs, May made a concession on environmental and workers’ rights, discounting Corbyn’s idea of automatic alignment with EU standards but suggesting instead a Commons vote every time these change.

Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the idea of targeting a customs union with the European Union, pouring cold water on hopes from some that she could shift her Brexit policy to win over the opposition Labour Party. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 but has yet to find a deal which is acceptable to both Brussels and lawmakers at home, raising the prospect of a disorderly exit that could damage the world’s fifth largest economy.

Sun
THERESA May is planning to take Brexit to the brink after delaying the do-or-die Commons vote on her deal until next month. The Government yesterday promised MPs they will get another chance to vote on Brexit options on February 27.  But Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that would not necessarily be the crunch Meaningful Vote on the PM’s deal. The further delay risks triggering an exodus of Remainer ministers who last month gave the PM a two-week deadline to secure a breakthrough.

Labour Party

Times
Tom Watson appeared to edge the Labour Party closer to backing another Brexit  referendum yesterday in breach of its present policy. Mr Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, suggested the party could support a fresh public vote if the cross-party talks between the opposition and government fail. He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It seems to me we’re now at the point where we can have meaningful talks to get a deal between the main political party leaders or the only way to break the impasse is a public vote, and that remains our policy.”

Independent
Rebel Labour MPs targeted by Downing Street are being warned that their constituencies could lose £1.1bn a year within a decade if they back Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Analysis of Treasury figures for the People’s Vote campaign found the 32 constituencies such as Wigan and Hartlepool could be hit by a total annual loss of £970m in economic output and some £100m in agricultural subsidies and structural funds within 10 years of leaving the EU.

Mirror
Labour has launched a bid to FORCE Theresa May not to delay her crunch Brexit vote until the last minute. Just 47 days before we leave, the party will this week try to bind the Prime Minister to let MPs have their say no later than February 26. It comes amid reports she plans to run down the clock to just 72 hours before exit day. The PM might have to stitch up agreement at an EU summit on March 22. That could be followed by a Commons statement on Monday 25 March – and a final vote by MPs only after that.

Express
LABOUR has piled the pressure on Theresa May after vowing to force the Prime Minister to put her Brexit deal to a second crunch vote in in the House of Commons before the end of the month. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer warned Labour will try to stop Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement by using a Commons amendment to require Mrs May to hold another ‘meaningful vote’ by February 26.

Business

Express
THE government has won Brexit victory after signing a deal ensuring trade between the UK and Switzerland continues uninterrupted after Britain leaves the European Union. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox put pen to paper on the deal in the Swiss capital Bern yesterday, saying the agreement provides a “solid foundation” for a post-Brexit trading relationship.

Sky News
The government will today sign a trade deal with Switzerland, heralded as the most significant such agreement in the run-up to Brexit. The deal, known as a trade continuity agreement, will guarantee future trading terms between the two countries once the UK has left the EU. It will be signed, in the Swiss city of Bern, by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and the Swiss federal councillor Guy Parmelin.

EU

Express
BRUSSELS has sparked fury by stopping member states agreeing arrangements with the UK to provide healthcare to expats in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to an official memo. A Government document seen by the Daily Telegraph claims Brussels is refusing to let EU countries engage with each other so health arrangements for British nationals in the bloc can be put in place. Currently, European Union citizens with a right to live in the UK can claim benefits in the country just like British nationals do.

Telegraph
Italy is drawing up emergency plans to safeguard financial stability and keep trade with the UK flowing even if there is a no-deal Brexit, if necessary through a bilateral deal between Rome and London. The country’s insurgent Lega-Five Star coalition is increasingly worried that a mishandling of the EU’s Brexit crisis could push Italy’s fragile economy into a dangerous downward slide and risk a funding crisis for its sovereign debt at a treacherous moment.

Telegraph
An influential economic research centre has warned that 100,000 jobs could be put at risk in Germany if the UK leaves the EU without securing a deal.  The study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research found that jobs in the car industry would be particularly vulnerable to the uncertainties created by Britain tumbling out of the EU without securing a favourable trading relationship.

Times
A no-deal Brexit would jeopardise at least 100,000 jobs in Germany and up to 50,000 in France because of a slump in exports, according to a study. Economists have calculated that 15,000 workers in the German car industry — roughly one in a hundred — could be made redundant if formidable trade barriers sprang up with Britain. The blow would be felt in much of the world but fall most heavily on high-tech manufacturing centres such as Wolfsburg, the home of Volkswagen, and Böblingen, a suburb of Stuttgart where Siemens and IBM are leading employers.

Telegraph
A vicious street brawl between rival “yellow vest” factions has highlighted bitter divisions among the anti-government protesters as the speaker of the National Assembly warned of a culture of violence engulfing French politics. Dozens of far Right supporters and ultra-Leftists taking part in yellow vest protests fought with fists, rocks and sticks in the eastern city of Lyon on Saturday night. The violence was seen as further evidence of widening splits in the leaderless grassroots movement.

Breitbart
A new report from a French magazine claims that at least 150 Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) activists have their phones tapped by the French government and are being tracked online. The report comes from weekly political magazine Le Point, which says that French security services agents have been tracking the Yellow Vest protestors and listening to their phone conversations, building on prior similar claims by Le Canard Enchaîné, the satirical weekly which broke a scandal involving former presidential candidate Francois Fillon, France-Soir reports.

Foreign aid

Express
TAXPAYERS in the UK are footing the bill for a £2 million road safety project which includes funding a driving simulator in China – the world’s second-largest economy which already received a staggering £47 MILLION in British aid. The ambitious research project, which it has been warned will “drive Brits up the wall”, is based at the University of Southampton and focuses on ways to reduce road traffic accidents around the globe.

HS2

Times
The £56 billion earmarked for HS2 may have been better spent on other projects, according to the former head of the rail watchdog. Stephen Glaister said that the budget for Europe’s biggest infrastructure programme could have been invested on upgrades to railways in the Midlands and north of England. A survey of more than 2,000 people published today found that only 12 per cent believe the new line represents “good value for taxpayers’ money”.

Mail
A growing Cabinet revolt is threatening to sink the HS2 rail link. Ministers are alarmed by the project’s spiralling costs and are ‘increasingly minded to kill it off’, says a senior source. Initially put at £33billion, the budget is thought to have soared to more than £60billion. Treasury insiders admit the scheme is being added to an audit of major capital projects in which its future will be assessed ‘from scratch’. This means funding could be squeezed or stopped.

Health

Times
Tens of thousands of women with a family history of breast cancer would benefit from annual NHS checks, according to a study. Health chiefs have been urged to consider screening such women from 35 after the study concluded that this would find almost twice as many tumours at an early stage while halving the number that had already spread by the time they were detected. Lives are likely to be saved by spotting these cancers earlier and the extra screening would not create a significant risk of healthy women getting needless treatment, researchers said.

Sun
UP to 86,000 women in their thirties with a family history of breast cancer should receive annual mammograms, say researchers. A study at 34 UK screening centres found the checks for those aged 35 to 39 at moderate or high risk spotted smaller tumours compared with those not tested. Earlier diagnosis also meant the cancer  was less likely to have spread. NHS screening is meant to start at 40 for women known to be in danger.

Mail
Up to 950 files relating to the contaminated blood scandal were removed by Whitehall officials, an investigation has found. Although most have since been retrieved, at least 45 documents are still missing and unaccounted for. The files were ‘checked out’ by civil servants from the Department of Health and, oddly, the Department for Education at intervals over the past three decades. Campaigners believe they contain evidence that will incriminate officials over what they knew and when.

Times
Doctors must be trained to question computer diagnoses as treatment becomes increasing automated, an NHS review has concluded. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI), apps, wearable devices and genetic analysis in medicine poses a serious risk of harm unless there is proper oversight, warns the US academic Eric Topol. His review, ordered by the government, says that within 10 to 20 years doctors will be using prescribing apps to treat patients, AI will interpret scans, robots will carry out surgery and algorithms will predict who will get ill.

Education

Times
A head teachers’ union is supporting plans by thousands of teenagers to walk out of lessons on Friday and join global protests over climate change. Secondary pupils in at least 30 British towns and cities will down their pens for three hours at 11am to demand action from the government. The Youth Strike 4 Climate puts schools in a difficult position. Taking a hard line on striking pupils could undermine teachers’ efforts to engage young people with politics. However, granting a day off would set a precedent and schools could be liable for their pupils’ safety at the rallies.

Mail
A band of veteran militant green activists are fuelling a campaign to encourage thousands of children to skip school. On Friday, thousands of pupils will walk out of lessons across the country in a mass protest over climate change. Children as young as nine will be taking part in the day of action – which is being quietly supported by some teachers – while organisers say the strike is the beginning of a wave of youth protests of increasing intensity.

Sky News
The MP who leads the education select committee has said GCSEs should be scrapped. Robert Halfon wants to replace them with a baccalaureate, taken at 18, that offers more access to vocation-based technical and creative skills, alongside traditional academic learning. The Conservative MP for Harlow will use a speech to education professionals at the Cabinet War Rooms in London to say England’s education system needs a radical overhaul.

Mail
More children will be able to attend grammar schools in the next three years as almost 3,000 new places will be created. However the £50million fund for new classrooms will focus on schools that prioritise poorer pupils – to stop them becoming too ‘socially exclusive’. Announcing the extra cash today, schools minister Nick Gibb will say grammars are now ‘returning to their original social mobility agenda’ after decades of being colonised by the middle classes.

Times
Children at Britain’s largest group of not-for-profit nurseries will spend hours a day playing outside, even in the rain, and the chief executive wants others to follow suit. The London Early Years Foundation, which has 37 nurseries, will give children aged two to five a daily minimum of two hours’ gardening, looking at nature or just playing outside under its experimental new curriculum.

Armed forces

Telegraph
Britain must be ready to use “hard power” and increase the “mass and lethality” of its armed forces to combat growing aggression from Russia and China, the Defence Secretary will say on Monday. Gavin Williamson will warn the UK will be seen as “little more than a paper tiger” if it talks tough but walks away from global crises and he will make the case for military-led intervention to stand up to countries which “flout international law”.

Independent
The aircraft-carrier Queen Elizabeth, with two squadrons of F-35 stealth fighters on board, will be sent into disputed waters in the Pacific in a display of “hard power”, the defence secretary is due to announce in a major speech on Britain’s military strategy in the post-Brexit world. Gavin Williamson will declare the UK “may have to intervene” in future to confront aggression from countries like Russia and China who “flout international law” and are “resurgent” in rebuilding their armed forces.

The post News review – Monday 11 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection

A firm making prefab rooms for luxury London flats is suffering with the UK’s lack of a plan

Dietrich von Gruben finds it distressing on a personal and professional level that Britain wants to leave the EU, but he accepts the decision with a qualification. “If you join a club you should also be able to leave it, but you should at least prepare a way or have an idea as to how you want to do it,” he says.

“I am quite anxious about what the complete lack of preparedness might mean for my business.”

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