EU

Express
NIGEL FARAGE has said it is a question of time as to when the “dead” European project dismantles. The former Ukip leader insisted the break-up of the European Union was inevitable following the Brexit vote. In an interview with Fox Business, he likened the EU to Hillary Clinton and the Brexit vote to a vote for President-elect Donald Trump. He said: “I think Brexit sent America a message that actually the European Union project was dying anyway. “And if you think about it, a vote for the EU, a vote for global corporatism, a vote for giving away sovereignty was a vote for Hillary. “But you [America] didn’t vote Hillary, you voted Trump. So we’ve made our decision, you’ve made your decision, it is now the rest of Europe that is behind.” He then slammed Eurocrats and branded the European bloc “dead”. “Let’s be clear, the European project as a political union is dead, it’s just a question of how long it takes for the whole thing to break up,” added Mr Farage.

Sun
A NEW decision in the European Court of Justice will “hugely” complicate Theresa May’s task of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, experts have warned. Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston issued a legal opinion ruling that the Free Trade Agreement which the EU reached with Singapore in 2014 must be ratified by all member states. The same view is now likely to prevail over any trade agreement with the post-Brexit UK, handing a veto over the deal to a total of 38 national and regional parliaments around the continent, said Cambridge University Professor of EU Law Catherine Barnard, of the UK in a Changing Europe think tank. It sets the scene for a repeat of the chaos surrounding Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with the EU, which came close to foundering after seven years of negotiation earlier this year because of opposition in the Walloon regional parliament in Belgium. In her ruling, Sharpston – who is the UK’s only judge at the European Court of Justice – recognised that her decision will cause “difficulties” for the EU, but insisted that this did not affect the legal position.

Times
Proposals that could require all vehicles to be insured even if they never leave private land would lead to the demise of motor sports in Britain, industry leaders claim. In a letter in today’s Times, the Motorsport Industry Association and the Motorcycle Industry Association criticise the “ill-considered” European Union directive. The change in law would mean compulsory third-party injury and damage insurance for all vehicles involved in sports. Vehicles that are currently exempt from insurance, including mobility scooters, golf buggies, ride-on lawnmowers and Segway personal transporters, are also likely to be affected. The Department for Transport said it was obliged to hold a consultation on the plans despite being uncomfortable about the reforms.

Brexit

Telegraph
Theresa May’s plans for a post-Brexit trade deal could be blocked by the national and regional parliaments of the 27 member states after a landmark ruling by a senior member of the European Court of Justice. Eleanor Sharpston, the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General, issued a legal opinion ruling that an EU free trade deal with Singapore must be agreed by all member states. It means that a post-Brexit deal may have to be agreed by at least 38 national and regional parliaments, including the 27 national parliaments, at least five regional and linguistic parliaments in Belgium and at least five upper chambers. Earlier this year an EU-Canada trade deal nearly collapsed following seven years of tortuous negotiations after the Walloon region of Belgium threatened to veto it.

Foreign aid

Mail
Aid payments to the most corrupt countries soared by almost 30 per cent last year, despite warnings much of the cash could be squandered, stolen or seized by terrorists. Britain gave a total of £1.3billion to the 20 most corrupt nations in 2015 – up from just over £1billion the previous year – figures reveal. Big winners included Afghanistan, where aid rose by more than 50 per cent to £300million, despite David Cameron describing the country this year as ‘fantastically corrupt’. Somalia, identified as the worst offender, received more than £120million, despite a review concluding there was a ‘certain’ risk of aid money being diverted by terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State. The figures come as Theresa May faces calls to put vulnerable British people first by using part of the £12.2billion foreign aid budget to tackle the elderly care crisis instead. The Department for International Development (DfID) claims the rise in cash to corrupt states reflects the drive to focus aid on the most ‘fragile’ nations.

Social care

Mail
A woman dying in agony from cancer was refused morphine in her final days because her health trust and council each claimed it was the other’s responsibility. Although the patient, named Gail, was under the care of both authorities, neither arranged the prescription, leaving her in unnecessary pain for almost a week. Her case is highlighted in a damning report which warns how vulnerable patients are ‘falling through the cracks’ because of the social care crisis. It blames failings in care services and a lack of communication between hospit
als and local councils.

Broadband

Independent
Around 600,000 extra homes and businesses in remote parts of the country are to have high speed broadband installed, following a government investment of £440m. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced the measure as part of the Broadband Delivery UK programme, which draws must of its funds from monthly broadband subscriptions paid by other homeowners and businesses who have previously been connected via the scheme. BDUK’s plan is to provide superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by December next year. Ms Bradley said: “Our Broadband Delivery UK programme is giving families and businesses in hard-to-reach areas the fast and reliable internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life. “Strong take-up and robust value-for-money measures mean £440 million will be available for reinvestment where it matters – putting more connections in t
he ground.

Telegraph
The government has pledged to give decent broadband speeds to up to 600,000 homes via a new £400m funding pot. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has freed up the money to help homes and businesses in the “hardest-to-reach” parts of the UK receive broadband speeds considered to be essential to modern life. The pledge comes less than a week after an Ofcom report found that 5% of UK homes and offices, or 1.4m properties, cannot access broadband speeds over 10 megabits per second. This is the level that the media regulator considers the minimum to reach a typical household’s digital needs, which it says includes film streaming in HD or viewing Amazon and Netflix TV, watching catchup TV services such as the BBC iPlayer, video calling and basic web browsing. The DCMS said the £440m come from a combination of efficiency savings and a “clawback” mechanism related to the reinvestment of money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK project.

Sky News
Around 600,000 extra homes and businesses are in line for superfast broadband services, it has been announced. Some £440m will be used to connect properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK under the Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK), Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said. The announcement comes a month after
Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £1bn of Government investment in “full-fibre” broadband, a handout which means at least two million more homes and businesses could get access to speeds of more than 1Gbps. Last week, the Government also faced calls to “play an active role” in the future rollout of 5G, as a report revealed that Albania and Peru have better mobile phone coverage than the UK.

Strikes

Telegraph
Train drivers locked in an industrial dispute about who closes carriage doors have been accused of “faking” technology malfunctions to boost their case for strike action. Southern Rail has in recent months seen a spike in claims that cameras allowing drivers to shut doors on their own are breaking down. 
Every time a fault is alleged the train needs to be taken out of service, causing transport misery for thousands of commuters. However, ministers have now revealed that when the supposed faults are investigated engineers keep finding that there is nothing wrong. It has triggered claims that drivers – backed up by militant unions – are making up problems to portray driver-operated door technology as unreliable. Nick Herbert, the Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs, said: “If claims are being falsified it is outrageous and the drivers have serious questions to answer.

ITV News
Talks aimed at averting strikes by British Airways cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day will resume on Thursday. Unite leader Len McCluskey and other union officials spent a second day meeting the company under the chairmanship of the conciliation service Acas, before talks were adjourned at 12.30am. A spokesman said the union continued to pursue progress in the dispute, seeking an improvement on the “poverty pay” of cabin crew employed in the so-called mixed fleet. BA says it will run a full service on both days even if the strikes by Unite members go ahead. The talks come as the pre-Christmas bout of industrial unrest rumbles on, with workers who deliver cash to Post Offices striking on Thursday and Friday. Members of the Communication Workers Union will walk out as part of a campaign against job losses, the closure of a final salary pension scheme and closures.

Fisheries

Times
A cod war has erupted between English and Scottish fishermen over how shares of fish stocks are allocated in the run-up to Brexit. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents the industry in England, has accused the government of taking cod quota from its members and promising it to Scotland to appease nationalists. George Eustice, the fisheries minister, this month withheld 1,500 tonnes of the Arctic cod quota, which would normally go to trawlers in Humberside, after it was awarded to the UK in an annual fishing deal with Norway. Scottish fishermen now expect to benefit from this quota, worth almost £3 million, to help them to cope with the introduction of the EU’s ban on discarding unwanted fish.

Waterworld

Star
ASTRONOMICAL heat is threatening to melt the North Pole ahead of Christmas, forecasters have warned.Extreme Arctic mercury levels are surging towards melting point with an “unprecedented” 10C heat spike forecast two days before Christmas. For the second time in two months, and the second year on the trot, temperatures in Santa Claus’ homeland will skyrocket to freakishly high levels. 
According to computer models, the heatwave could see thermometers could climb above the melting point of 0C. It comes after grim warnings melting ice caps will transform sinking Britain into a waterworld. If these projections come to fruition, most of the south’s major cities are eventually expected to be overwhelmed by water. Scientists told Daily Star Online many of London’s tallest landmarks – from Big Ben to the London Eye – could be partially submerged in the future. It is believed low-lying areas in Yorkshire, Norfolk and across the east of England would also be particularly vulnerable to widespread submersion.

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