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‘Stop the talks, Boris!’ Britons FURIOUS as ‘panicking’ Angela Merkel issues warning to PM

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Mrs Merkel is urging EU negotiator Michel Barnier to play hardball by demanding “more realism” from the UK. Speaking today, Mrs Merkel’s ambassador in Brussels, Michael Clauss, said the German Chancellor was pushing for concessions from Mr Johnson to make it easier for her to convince fellow European Union leaders to back a compromise.

However, Facebook users posting on’s page were unconvinced.

Bob Crowley commented: “The economy is pants at the moment.

“Now is the time to walk away, as it will only get better from there, WTO is the only way, ditch this corrupt bunch.”

Ian Howard agreed, posting: “Stop the talks Boris! The EU wishes to hobble the UK to prevent further implosion.

“Whole idea of getting out is so we are NOT covered by EU rulings!”

Terry Good said: “Who is this Angela Merkel that she thinks she is in charge?

“Boris, tell her to go and look after the people she is supposed to be helping, not to interfere in something that does not concern her, okay???”

Pat Patrick added: “I think we all remember when Cameron went cap in hand, before the referendum, to ask her for concessions.

“He was sent packing and the rest is history. Now she is asking for the UK to give a little.

“Well her words are too little, too late.”

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Meanwhile Charlie Port suggested Mrs Merkel was motivated by self-interest.

He explained: “She is running scared! 

“As it’s clear that Germany will have to pick-up the bill in future.”

“Also if she can’t get a deal then there are going to be other countries that will leave and her dream of a German Dominated Europe will be over.”

Similarly, Graham Everett urged: “Boris don’t give in. Germany is now panicking because of their car industry and other company’s that sell into the UK.

“They are in a massive recession. We have them on the run.

“The French need our fish so sell it to them at market rates.”

Speaking about the talks today, Mrs Merkel told the German Parliament: “Progress in talks is, to put it cautiously, very limited.

“We have agreed with Britain to speed up the talks in order to seal a deal in the autumn that must be ratified by the end of the year.”

However, she admitted Germany and the EU “must be prepared for the possibility that a deal doesn’t materialise”.

The UK negotiators have been in crunch meetings with their EU counterparts all week, after both sides agreed to intensify discussions.

They met this week face to face for the first time in months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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World News

China flu strain causes fresh alarm as WHO issues dire warning over pandemic

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The study, published on Monday by the National Academy of Sciences, claimed the pathogen was a worsening issue in pig farms. The paper added that the virus has “all the hallmarks” of being propitious for human transmission.

It comes ten years after a swine flu pandemic was estimated to have killed up to 284,000 people.

The researchers said the capability of the new pathogen – named G4 EA H1N1 – to acclimate would raise “concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses”.

Asked about the report at a briefing in Geneva today, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said: “We will read carefully the paper to understand what is new.

“It also highlights we cannot let our guard down on influenza and need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even in the coronavirus pandemic.”

The study was carried out between 2011 and 2018.

Researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in abattoirs in ten Chinese provinces and one veterinary facility.

“Close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented,” the paper said.

“It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic.”

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From the tests, 179 different swine flu viruses were identified.

One of the viruses was G4 EA H1N1 which was later found to be highly contagious.

The alarm was raised when it was found that the immunity humans build up to regular seasonal flu does not protect against G4 EA H1N1.

Some abattoir workers – 10.4 percent – had developed the antibodies to fight off the new virus thanks to their exposure to it.

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Within the general population, only 4.4 percent were found to have gained the antibodies.

According to the findings, the pathogen can be transmitted from animals to humans, but it is unknown whether it can be transmitted between humans.

The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 is thought to have been passed to humans from pigs.

The pandemic originated in America and it infected an army camp.

When the servicemen at the camp were sent out to France to fight in World War One, the virus started to spread across Europe.

Reiterating the WHO’s warning, Prof Kin-Chow Chang of the University of Nottingham told the BBC: “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so.

“But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked about the findings at a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

“China is closely following the developments in regard to this matter.” Mr Zhao said.

“We will take all necessary measures to prevent the spread and outbreak of any virus.”

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World News

Emmanuel Macron NIGHTMARE: French President issued devastating economic warning

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The country’s Court of Auditors has called for a “long-term” plan to control public debt, which has been tipped to reach 120.9 percent of GDP – in other words, a fifth more than all the wealth the country produces in the course of a year. Led by President Pierre Moscovici, the Court of Auditors, which has responsibility for conducting financial and legislative audits of most public institutions, highlighted the dire situation in its annual report, published today.

The document states: “The spontaneous rebalancing of public accounts will, in all likelihood, only be partial.

“Without recovery action, the deficit risks being very high for a long period.

“The debt trajectory would then not be under control.”

Government forecasts are suggesting GDP could fall by 11 percent in France this year, with the government banking on renewed growth to reduce the national debt, having pledged not to increase taxes.

The Court of Auditors has drawn up three scenarios for the recovery of activity, with the most optimistic not foreseeing a return to pre-crisis debt levels – just under 100 percent of GDP – for a decade.

The report warns against expectations in relation to economic growth, stressing that “an effort to structurally restore public finances must be undertaken” as soon as economic conditions permit.

It adds: “It must not be too brutal not to break the recovery, but it must be pursued constantly to obtain tangible results”.

An “in-depth” review of public spending to prioritise investment spending, coupled with an “increased effort to control other spending” is necessary.

In addition, the recovery plan which the government plans to deploy at the start of the school year will need to contain “temporary” and targeted support actions, without funding from an increase in public debt, the Court said.

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Speaking earlier this month, Mr Macron said: “The summer of 2020 will not be a summer like any other and we will have to keep watch over the evolution of the epidemic.”

The priority was to “rebuild a strong, ecologic, sovereign and fair economy”, he said, “drawing on all the lessons” of the pandemic.

He added: “This ordeal also revealed our flaws, our weaknesses: our dependence on other continents to obtain certain products, our cumbersome organisation, our social and territorial inequalities.”

Speaking earlier this month, Mr Macron said: “The summer of 2020 will not be a summer like any other and we will have to keep watch over the evolution of the epidemic.”

The priority was to “rebuild a strong, ecologic, sovereign and fair economy”, he said, “drawing on all the lessons” of the pandemic.

He added: “This ordeal also revealed our flaws, our weaknesses: our dependence on other continents to obtain certain products, our cumbersome organisation, our social and territorial inequalities.”

BFM TV and Agence France Presse earlier reported 7,500 looming job cuts.

Air France declined to comment on layoffs plans.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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Brexiteers rejoice as Britain on track to leave EU with no delay – ‘We did it!’

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Well folks, it’s nearly the end of June, which means we did it

Bruges Group tweet

In accordance with the Brexit withdrawal agreement thrashed out between the UK and EU last year, and enshrined in the EU Withdrawal Act, the deadline for a UK request to any further delay beyond the end of the year is July 1. Pro-Brexit think tank the Bruges Group underlined their belief that an extension is now impossible, tweeting: “Well folks, it’s nearly the end of June, which means we did it.

“We pushed through the first half of the year without succumbing to the siren calls for a transition extension. Onward and Upward.”

The post echoed a similar one last month from the Bruges Group’s account, days before UK negotiator David Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier embarked on another round of talks.

The tweet read: “Thanks to the EU’s unreasonable stance (ably dismantled by Frost’s letter last week), progress has been poor.

“Once an extension becomes impossible, however, EU minds will be focused.”

Bruges Group director Robert Oulds subsequently told Boris Johnson was increasingly in a position to pile the pressure on Brussels once the end of June was out of the way.

Mr Oulds said: “The European Union will then know that we mean business in Britain.

“The Government of Boris Johnson is standing firm and it has been since he became Prime Minister.

“He is not going to budge – they have had this vision that he is going to extend the transition period.

“That becomes an impossibility after that date.”

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Mr Oulds added: “They are not dealing with Theresa May anymore or any other British Prime Minister that has gone before apart from probably Margaret Thatcher.

“Therefore, they need to get on and negotiate a free trade deal before the end of this year.”

The “dire economic state” the bloc was facing made it imperative for them to strike a deal, Mr Oulds stressed.

He added: “They need to sit down and be serious and negotiate with us.

“The current arrangement will end – it will mean either no deal, which will mean they lose an important market or they think rationally and come to an agreement, which would be in their interests.

“People voted in the referendum to leave, they voted in 2017 for parties that promised to leave, and elected a Government with a handsome majority in 2019 to take this up fully.

“It’s what the British people want.”

Negotiators from the UK and European Union met face to face today in a bid to accelerate progress on a post-Brexit trade deal.

Teams led by Mr Frost and Mr Barnier held talks in Brussels for the first time since the coronavirus crisis forced them to be held via videolink.

Mr Barnier said they would “make the most” of the intensified process over the coming weeks and months.

He said the EU remains “calm and united in its principles and values”.

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World News

Back off, Merkel! EU rift as Conte warns German leader

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But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte lashed out at Mrs Merkel sending a loud-and-clear “I’m in charge of Italy” message to the German leader. Private aides to Mr Conte have suggested using the EU’s assistance programmes would signal to Italy and wider financial markets that Mr Conte had lost control of the national purse strings.

The ESM was established in 2012 and provides instant access to assistance programmes for member states struggling with financial difficulty. 

The scheme has been criticised for being a short-term political fix and not an institutional solution.

Despite the economic crisis due to the outbreak of coronavirus, no euro government has shown any interest in ESM aid.

Speaking to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung Mrs Merkel said the EU had not set up instruments such as the ESM so that they remain unused.

Ms Merkel said: “It is an instrument that can be used by everyone.

“We did not activate it to remain unused.”

But Mr Conte said: “I’m the one who keeps the books.

“I take care of the Italian budget, together with Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri, the state’s accountants and the other ministers.”

Matteo Salvini, former deputy prime minister, echoed Mr Conte’s comments and said: “Merkel should concentrate on Germany, we think about Italy ourselves.”

Despite having access to the ESM scheme, Italy fears a request for help during the economic crisis will be interpreted as a signal of massive financial difficulties.

Italy was one of the worst hit countries during the outbreak of COVID-19 with more than 34,000 people dying due to the deadly virus.

The coronavirus crisis put the weakening EU under strain and fury erupted in Italy over the way it was abandoned by its European partners during the pandemic.

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Earlier this month, European Commission president Ursula von Der Leyen demanded Italy tackles overdue reforms after receiving millions from the European Reconstruction Fund.

Ms von der Leyen announced the EU would not borrow money from their children to spend more today.

She said: “We, the EU, are borrowing money from our children for the first time.

“So today’s investments must bear fruit for our children.

“We will not simply borrow money from our children just to spend more today, as our Member States sometimes did.”

Concerns that Italy would follow the UK and leave the EU have been heightened over recent weeks.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage previously claimed Italy would be the next country to leave the EU.

In an interview with, Mr Farage said: “After the COVID-19 emergency, western countries’ politics are going through a phase of profound instability.

“What is certain is that any aid measure from Brussels to solve the Italian economic crisis will not bring stability.

“I don’t know when exactly, I don’t know at what point, certainly not tonight, but in the end, Italy will leave the European Union as we did.

“It might take years, but it will happen.”

Although Mr Farage was adamant Italy would leave the EU, he believed it would not be Mr Conte to lead them out.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg and Maria Ortega

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Britain’s building! Boris Johnson promises construction ‘dramatically accelerated’ UK-wide

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Boris Johnson is expected to use a speech on Tuesday to lay out his vision of using infrastructure to “level up” opportunities around the nation and to fire up the economy. Dubbed ‘Project Speed’ in Downing Street, his plans will create a new task force headed by the Chancellor which will remove bottlenecks and slash the time it takes to bring schemes to realisation. Mr Johnson has already committed to more than £250 billion of projects but is set to spend billions more accelerating plans for new schools, hospitals, prisons and a revamp of the road network.

It comes as the MPs who helped him sweep the Labour heartlands in December have issued a 10 point unofficial manifesto of what Mr Johnson needs to do to repay the trust of new Tory voters in the north of England, midlands and Wales.

Their demands include new fast broadband for every household, urgent investment in transport and high streets, a tougher approach to law and order, more apprenticeships and an acceleration of the levelling up agenda.

However, the Red Wall MPs look set to be pleased with Mr Johnson’s announcement, with the Prime Minister clear that he does not want any delays in delivering on his promises.

Mr Johnson’s new taskforce, chaired by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, will ensure that projects are “dramatically accelerated” to “revitalise the UK economy.”

Sources close to the Prime Minister have noted his recognition that the government was elected on a manifesto “committed to uniting and levelling up the country”, and Mr Johnson has always placed high quality infrastructure at the heart of delivering this pledge to boost jobs, productivity and growth.

He will point out in his speech that the UK “has a proud heritage in building outstanding infrastructure – from the Victorians’ pioneering railways, to the Thames Barrier that protects millions of Londoners from flooding”.

But it is understood that he is worried that in the past, it has often taken years – if not decades – to take a project through from idea to opening, meaning that people haven’t seen the benefits until far too late.

The Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce will look across the full range of government’s public investment projects and cut delivery times by removing bottlenecks at every step of development and delivery.

It will bring forward proposals to deliver plans more quickly, for example by addressing outdated practices and identifying blocks to progress, so that projects are delivered more quickly and more efficiently to best meet the needs of the people they are designed for.

This new approach will be applied to trailblazer projects including 40 new hospitals, 10,000 prison places and the school rebuilding programme.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The coronavirus response has shown that it doesn’t have to take years to get essential projects off the ground – the Nightingale hospitals and ventilator challenge were up and running in a matter of weeks.

“As we recover from the pandemic we must apply that same urgency to the major projects at the foundations of this country and get them done right, to truly level up opportunity across the UK.

“There’s now no excuse for delays. Infrastructure has the power to rebuild and repair our country – and we will do it better, faster and more strategically than before.”

Meanwhile, the new generation of Conservative MPs who shattered Labour’s “red wall” in the last election and won the trust of voters in Britain’s former industrial heartlands have set out how they want Mr Johnson to deliver for their communities.

Conservative Asfield MP Lee Anderson, a former miner and Labour member, wants Britain restored as a manufacturing powerhouse.

He said: “We still have that in our DNA and we want to get back to that. We’re wasting people and we’re wasting talent, and we’re a great innovating country.”

Mr Anderson welcomes pledges to deliver extra police and would like to see prisoners serving their full sentence – and he is unafraid to call for tougher action against criminals in the community.

Mark Fletcher, who stood against Labour firebrand Dennis Skinner, has pushed for Bolsover to be designated a “green enterprise zone” in the hope it will become a centre for low-carbon manufacturing and research.

Mansfield’s Ben Bradley wants to see the “levelling up agenda supercharged”.

He wants colleges to “offer premises and staff time and expertise to support budding entrepreneurs” and calls for the creation of new courses – offered free to anyone who has lost a job – that will give them the skills they need to find work in growing parts of the economy.

Conservative MP Alexander Stafford, who took Rother Valley from Labour for the first time ever last year, met with the Chancellor a fortnight ago and insists the Government has not lost its enthusiasm for the “levelling up” agenda.

Esther McVey, who heads up the 169-strong group of Blue Collar Conservative MPs, has in recent weeks made the case to scrap business rates to save the high street, and provide super fast broadband to all homes in her weekly podcast.

She said: “Digital inclusion is a must. We need a superfast digital highway to every home.”

Warrington South Conservative MP Andy Carter also wants help for local retailers, saying: “We’ve got to be bold in our approach to redesigning what we think of as the traditional town centre in places like Warrington.”

North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden said: “What we are all now looking to the government for is how we can make the most of those new opportunities for our country and focus on that levelling-up agenda as we do that to continue repaying the trust the British people across the North of England placed in us.”

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