Brexit

Sun
BREXIT Secretary David Davis flies to Brussels today confident of clinching a vital transition deal with his Brussels counterpart within days. He will have key talks with European Commission negotiator Michel Barnier. Pressure is mounting on the Government to thrash out details of the agreement by the end of the month to give firms time to plan for Brexit. It is hoped EU leaders rubberstamp the deal by the weekend following this Thursday’s summit. It comes as Leave supporters on the Commons Brexit committee refused to sign off a report extending the time period between transition and exit. They accuse Remainers on the committee of trying to “frustrate” Brexit.

Mail
Children as young as seven are to be consulted on  Brexit as Wales seeks to ensure their ‘views and concerns are listened to’. Ministers have launched a formal survey for young people in a move condemned by MPs as ‘an attempt to brainwash children’. Announcing the scheme, Wales’s Minister for Children Huw Irranca-Davies said Brexit would bring about some of the biggest changes children would face in their adult lives. He said: ‘The majority of the adult population took a monumental decision that the UK should leave the EU. ‘We accept that decision, and are doing all we can to ensure Wales and the rest of the UK gets the very best deal from it.

Express
REMAINERS hell-bent on stopping Brexit are to claim the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury illustrates why the UK needs to remain in the European Union. Sir Vince Cable will say today that following the nerve agent attack earlier this month, Britain will be safer from similar attacks in the future if it is part of the bloc. The Lib Dem leader, who is calling for a second  Brexit  referendum, will claim leaving the EU during such an unpredictable period in global geopolitics would be “utter folly”, with the UK facing the threat of war with Russia, a trade war with the United States and the ever-growing influence of China. He will use a speech at a Brexit conference to criticise the Government’s “amateur” handling of the divorce and refusal to change its position despite forecasts the country will inevitably be worse off after the split.

Fisheries

Guardian
Plans to take back control of UK fisheries the moment Britain leaves the EU appear to have been abandoned in the face of united EU opposition, dealing a significant blow to the ambitions of the environment secretary, Michael Gove. Gove put repatriating control of fisheries at the heart of his post-Brexit strategy. But as the negotiations to secure the terms of a transition deal go to the wire in Brussels, the UK has backed down. However, sources say there have been concessions on both sides. The EU is prepared to allow the UK a say in the negotiations on setting the allowable catch for the EU fleet even after the formal departure date of 29 March 2019. The crucial meeting of EU heads of government intended to sign off the withdrawal agreement starts on Thursday, and people familiar with the negotiations say they are still talking.

LibDems

Independent
A senior Liberal Democrat has admitted there is “a risk” the party will fall into irrelevance after Brexit, if its appeal does not extend to “bread-and-butter issues” beyond opposition to leaving the EU. Alistair Carmichael, the party’s chief whip and a former Secretary of State for  Scotland, added that it needed to “break out of the silos of the 52 and the 48”. He was asked whether, having positioned themselves as “Ukip for Remainers”, as it was put by a commentator earlier this week, the Lib Dems might suffer after March 2019 when the UK is set to exit the bloc. He told 
The Independent: “That’s a risk, shall we say, and I think it’s a risk to which we are all alive.  “That’s why if you look at what we have done in the last few weeks, if you saw the way Vince Cable responded to Carillion – the collapse – if you saw the education policy that Layla Moran has published as our education spokesperson in the last few weeks, then you can see that the antidote to that risk is for us to construct an agenda that is radical and relevant on the bread-and-butter issues.”

Labour Party

Express
JEREMY Corbyn could be about to pay a heavy price for his ill-judged response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack with several senior Labour MPs ready to form a breakaway party with Liberal Democrats and at least one Conservative MP, according to reports. Insiders have revealed how proposals for new pro-European centre party called Start Again have been openly discussed during cross-party meetings on Brexit said Mr Corbyn’s attitude after the attempted murder of a Russian spy on British soil had brought the split a step closer. A former shadow cabinet member said Mr Corbyn’s refusal to join world leaders such as Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in blaming Russia for the outrage would lead to some MPs leaving Labour. The MP is quoted as saying: “This is a watershed moment. It has caused a number of people to question why we are in this party.”

Guardian
Momentum is a powerful and increasingly independent political force that is radically transforming the Labour party, with local groups challenging party orthodoxies, flouting national membership rules and fighting to get their activists selected, a Guardian investigation has revealed. A grassroots reporting project across four local parties demonstrates that Momentum, often described as a “party within a party”, has rapidly become the most powerful force on the ground with Labour members frequently defining themselves as for or against it. Some groups are even prepared to defy the wishes of Jeremy Corbyn’s office to support their chosen candidates in parliamentary selections, while a rule that bans non-Labour members from joining Momentum is frequently ignored in practice. In Mansfield, Momentum and local party officers went against the Labour leadership to reject the Corbyn aide David Prescott in favour of the council leader, Sonya Ward.

Mirror
Labour vows today to outflank the Tories on social care by pledging a “more generous level” of cap on lifetime costs. Shadow Care Minister Barbara Keeley will pledge to beat the now-ditched Tory guarantee that people would pay no more than £72,000 for their own care. Tory ministers abandoned the offer, which had been due to begin in 2020, last year in favour of a fresh review of the social care system. But Ms Keeley will say in a speech to the Fabian Society: “The next Labour Government will implement a maximum limit on care costs at a more generous level than currently set in the Care Act regulations.” Labour proposed a cap in its 2017 manifesto, but did not say how high or low it would be. Despite the pledge, a Labour source stressed making the cap “more generous” would not necessarily mean setting it below £72,000.

NHS

Times
Tens of thousands more patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E waiting for a bed last year than official figures suggest. Doctors and MPs called for a change to how “trolley waits” were reported in England after an investigation by The Times. Official numbers show that 2,770 A&E patients had to wait more than 12 hours for a bed last year. These NHS statistics only capture the time between a doctor deciding a patient needs to be admitted and then being found a place on a ward. If the time is recorded between arriving at A&E and being found a bed, the number of patients who had to wait in emergency departments for more than 12 hours leaps to at least 67,406 patients.

Russia

Guardian
Banks, energy and water companies are on maximum alert over the threat of a serious cyber-attack from Moscow as concern continues over the safety of Russian exiles in the UK. Fears that Russia will target Britain’s critical national infrastructure have prompted round-the-clock threat assessments by the UK’s financial sector, energy firms and GCHQ, the UK’s largest intelligence agency, along with the security services MI5 and MI6. The Bank of England, major financiers, including Lloyds, and organisations such as Water UK are working with the government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to assess the next move from Moscow following the  murder of Nikolai Glushkov, 68, and the Salisbury chemical attack. Scotland Yard on Saturday issued a  renewed appeal for information for anyone who may have seen a burgundy red BMW owned by Sergei Skripal, 66, the former Russian spy who was found unconscious on 4 March in Salisbury along with his daughter, Yulia.

Mirror
Energy giants, gas providers and the NHS have been put on alert amid fears a massive Russian cyber-attack could cause blackouts, it was reported today. Boris Johnson admitted British power plants could be targeted in a Russian attack as Moscow mulls retaliation over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal . Theresa May is considering sweeping new sanctions against Russian oligarchs two weeks after Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia were left in a critical condition in Salisbury. That could trigger a diplomatic tit-for-tat and covert action by both states. Today the Sunday Times reported that spy chiefs have warned the bosses of British power companies about the possibility of a Russian cyber-assault. A Whitehall security source told the newspaper: “They’re contacting all the critical national infrastructure operators.

Russian election

Mail
Shocking videos show blatant ballot rigging as Vladimir Putin won a landslide victory in the Russian presidential election. In the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy, a stash of filled-in votes was put in the ballot box by an election official. Soon after, another official put more ballot papers in the box – all caught by CCTV cameras. The officials are supposed to guarantee the integrity of the election, but are seen cheating. In another video from Dagestan, a man is seen filling the ballot box with completed voting slips as a woman election official stands guard. This is seen when polling station number 380 is empty. At another polling station – number 1126 – in the same region, a group of wrestlers created a commotion to block observers while a man stuffed the ballot box with completed votes.   

Sun
SHOCKING videos have emerged which allegedly show ‘ballot rigging’ in Russia as Vladimir Putin secured a landslide in today’s presidential election. In the clips, voting station officials appear to ‘stash voting slips in ballot boxes’ and block a CCTV camera at one station with balloons, while a Mother Superior appears to check the votes cast by her order. It comes as Putin comfortably extended his rule of Russia for another six years this evening, winning 75 per cent of the vote. 
Another term will take him to nearly a quarter century in power a longevity among Kremlin leaders second only to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. During a victory speech outside the Kremlin he vowed to put national interests first – and dismissed the country’s involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal as “nonsense”.

Express
THE Russian election 2018 results have handed victory to Vladimir Putin, according to exit polls published following accusations of a fix over claims the president’s aides had been inflating voter turnout to give him more credible numbers. An exit poll showed Putin won Russia’s presidential election held on Sunday with 73.9 per cent of the vote, which will give the former spy another six years in the Kremlin.  The voting projection, by pollster VTsIOM, put Communist party challenger Pavel Grudinin in second place with 11.2 per cent. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was on 6.7 per cent, and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak had 2.5 per cent. 

Star
VLADIMIR Putin has won a thumping victory in Russia’s presidential election, exit polls show, amid claims of widespread vote rigging and suspiciously inflated turnout figures. Putin is on course to extend his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years after exit polls showed he claimed 73.9% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election.  In a widely-expected result, Putin, who has been in power for 18 years, beat his closest rival Pavel Grudinin by more than 60%, according to an an exit poll by pollster VTsIOM.  Amid hostilities from the west over the nerve agent attack in the UK, Putin has promised to use his new term to beef up Russia’s defences and to raise living standards. 

Fox News
Social networks buzzed all day Sunday with videos, photos and firsthand accounts of voting violations in Russia’s presidential election. Election authorities said they will investigate all irregularities and annul results where needed. But the breadth of the reports was striking, and they may cast a shadow on the victory by incumbent Vladimir Putin. Video authenticated by The Associated Press showed some of the apparent irregularities and also was reported by observers including representatives of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Golos monitoring group and ordinary Russians. Some examples: CCTV footage of a voting station in the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy shows a woman taking a ballot from a table, looking around to see if anyone is watching, then putting it in the box. She repeats the action, again and again. Another woman, apparently a colleague at the station, joins her. A video from Ilskhan-Yurt in Chechnya shows a man in a white cap repeatedly putting ballots in the same box.

Child sex grooming

Mail
A grandfather was revealed as the paedophile who sold children for sex in a ‘Rape House’ where perverts queued down the stairs to abuse youngsters. Shahzad ‘Keith’ Khan ran the peadophile ring from an ex-council house in Telford, West Midlands, where he sold girls for up to £2,000 a night. Police were tipped off about him in 1996, but he continued to run his depraved business, taking a 14-year-old’s virginity and picking up one of his sex slaves from outside a police station. Another chance to catch Khan fell through in 2013, when a police case against him collapsed, Mirror Online reports.  Today brave survivors of his abuse exposed the terrifying ordeals he put young girls through. 

Independent
A number of new child sexual exploitation (CSE) victims have contacted police in Telford following claims that hundreds of girls may have been sexually abused by grooming gangs. It comes after Lucy Allan, the Conservative MP for Telford, said she had been “inundated” with reports from people saying “this has happened to me”. An investigation by the 
Sunday Mirror estimated up to 1,000 girls could have been sexually abused over the last 40 years. Since the 1980s, children as young as 11 are reported to have been the victims of sexual predators who drugged, beat and raped them. However, police have “significantly disputed” the figure, calling it “sensationalised”.

Breitbart
Grooming gang victims have described how police failed to act as paedophile Shahzad ‘Keith’ Khan raked in money selling their bodies to scores of abusers at a property dubbed ‘The Rape House’. The Pakistani migrant, who died in 2015 aged 61, had targeted girls in the town since 1981, picking up at least one of his victims from under the noses of the authorities outside a police station on a regular basis, the 
Mirror reports. “He’d pick me up right outside the police station in Wellington and sometimes police cars would drive past us,” she said. “They must have realised something was very badly wrong but they never said a word, nor asked me what I was doing with a much older man.”

World Cup

Times
A former top aide to Roman Abramovich at Chelsea football club calls today for Britain and its allies to boycott the World Cup in Russia this year. In a letter to The Times, Christian Purslow, 54, managing director at the club until last year, said England, France, Germany and Spain should quit the competition to show the Russian public what the world thinks of President Putin. His intervention is more powerful because Chelsea was the first English club to be transformed by an oligarch’s wealth.

Times
NHS whistleblowers will be able to take employers to a tribunal if they are not offered a job because they have spoken up in the past, under draft legislation being introduced today. The changes were recommended in 2015 in Sir Robert Francis’s Freedom to Speak Up review which found that many people struggled to find new employment in the NHS after raising safety concerns. The legislation will set out a timeframe in which any complaint to the employment tribunal must be lodged as well as remedies and compensation levels. It will treat discrimination against an applicant “by a worker or agent of the prospective NHS employer as if it was discrimination by the NHS employer itself”.

Hawking

Times
The pop star Prince left a vault of unreleased music when he died, JRR Tolkien left unfinished manuscripts and Vincent van Gogh left hundreds of paintings whose brilliance went unrecognised during his lifetime. It seems that Stephen Hawking, the physicist who died at the age of 76 last week, has also left behind unpublished work in his field, which experts say may help to detect other universes. News of his final paper came as it emerged that Westminster Abbey has offered to hold a memorial service for the scientist. Thomas Hertog, professor of theoretical physics at KU Leuven university in Belgium, said that a paper he co-wrote with Professor Hawking was being reviewed by a journal.

Mail
Just two weeks before his death Stephen Hawking submitted a research paper revealing how to detect evidence of a multiverse and predicting the end of our existence. The multiverse is a theory that our universe is just one of many others out there caused by the Big Bang. The paper, which was completed on his deathbed, discusses the idea that we could measure other universes using a detector on a spaceship. If this evidence was discovered during Hawking’s lifetime it may have put him in the running for a Nobel Prize – something he was never able to achieve. Thomas Hertog, who co-authored the paper named A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation, told the Sunday Times: ‘He has often been nominated for the Nobel and should have won it. Now he never can.’

Sun
PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking submitted a research paper just two weeks before he died hinting how scientists could find another universe and predicting the end of the world. The iconic physicist completed the ground-breaking research from his deathbed, said co-author professor Thomas Hertog. It sets out the maths needed for a Star Trek-style space probe to find experimental evidence for the existence of a “multiverse” –  the idea our cosmos is only one of many universes. If such evidence had been found while he was alive, it might have put Hawking in line for the Nobel Prize he had so desired, reports The Sunday Times.

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