Brexit

Reuters
Britain is expected to radically overhaul agricultural policy after it leaves the European Union and the bloc may have to make changes too when it loses Britain’s net contributions to the region’s farming budget. For the first time in decades, farmers in Britain will have to fight for a slice of government funds with departments such as health and education once Brussels hands over the purse strings for farming budgets to London. Britain’s exit also spells trouble for EU farmers as the country puts more into the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) than it takes out, meaning subsides for farmers on the continent could also fall unless the funding gap is plugged.British farmers have been shielded by a powerful farming lobby within Europe and benefit from EU subsidies, preferential trade deals and access to cheap seasonal labor, but they fear they will be losers on all three fronts in a post-Brexit world.

Westmonster
City of London policy chief Mark Boleat has said that that the forecast for Brexit Britain is “looking rather better” now that Article 50 has been triggered and the country is now on a clear path out of the EU. Although Boleat himself along with most of the financial establishment backed Remain, he points out that some of the scare stories put about will come to nothing: “Nobody is going to say ‘we are closing down in London’”. He has also pushed for the Brexit process to be carried out decisively with no messing about on either side: “We would hope that the negotiations go quickly and go well.” This is the economic reality. Business has accepted Brexit and can now see that the process needs to be carried out in the best interests of the nation as quickly and effectively as possible. A far cry from the lies that London would be finished outside of the European Union!

Immigration

Sun
IMMIGRATION may be even higher than figures show because penpushers aren’t picking up all migrants arriving at night – it has emerged. The Office for National Statistics revealed plans to launch new checks on night-time flights in and out of the UK. Currently, official migration statistics are based on random samples of passengers arriving into Britain between 6am and 10pm. This sample is then ‘weighted’ to try and give a representative figure for the entire day. But the ONS yesterday revealed it would run new checks outside of the regular hours to see if it was missing high numbers of students – particularly during the summer. Some 126,000 foreign students arrived in the year to September – with 87,000 from outside the EU. But Heathrow has 16 flights arriving every day between 4.30am and 6am – largely from south-east Asia.

Immigrants’ camp

Mail
A huge fire tore through at least half of the Grande-Synthe migrant camp outside the northern French city of Dunkirk injuring at least ten. Witnesses said the fire broke out following a row between Kurdish and Afghan migrants which left six with knife wounds. The camp was shelter to some 1,500 people by the end of March living in closely-packed wooden huts, hundreds of whom may now be homeless. Local officials said the blaze had affected around 20 of the huts, each of which typically accommodates four people. A massive plume of smoke rose from the camp into the night sky and was visible from several kilometres away. ‘There is nothing left but a heap of ashes,’ Michel Lalande, prefect of France’s Nord region, told reporters at the scene as firefighters continued to battle the flames.

Telegraph
A migrant camp in Dunkerque was devastated by a fire on Monday night, as two rival gangs turned on each other, with police firing volleys of tear gas to separate the groups. At least three people were injured in the brawl, which was said to be between Afghan and Kurdish migrants. Police fired 21 tear gas canisters to break up the battle at the Grande Synthe camp, home to an estimated 1,200 migrants outside the town. A fire broke out around 9pm, and within two hours much of the camp was destroyed, French press reported. Photos on social media showed buildings ablaze in the night sky.

Sun
A HUGE blaze has ripped through a French migrant camp reducing it to “a heap of ashes” with at least 10 people injured. The fire destroyed the Grande-Synthe camp outside the northern French city of Dunkirk late on Monday, a regional chief said. The camp was home to some 1,500 people, living in closely-packed wooden huts,  by the end of March and had recently seen an influx in arrivals. “There is nothing left but a heap of ashes,” Michel Lalande, prefect of France’s Nord region, told reporters at the scene as firefighters continued to battle the flames. “It will be impossible to put the huts back where they were before.”

Star
TEAR gas has been fired at rival migrant gangs after a huge fire has torn through a camp near Dunkirk. Witnesses reported the fire broke out after a huge fight between Afghan and Kurdish gangs. That led to further clashes between security forces and between 100 and 150 migrants. One of the injured migrants was knocked over by a car on a highway outside the camp and was in a critical condition, police said. Three other migrants had stab wounds. At least ten are believed to have been injured as flames ripped through the Grande-Synthe migrant camp. Around 1,500 people are estimated to be living there.

ITV News
A huge fire has devastated a migrant camp in northern France hours after clashes between groups living there. Hundreds of migrants were evacuated to local gyms after the fire destroyed wooden shelters at the Grande-Synthe camp outside Dunkirk late on Monday. Earlier riot police had been sent into the camp to stop clashes between 100 to 150 migrants that left five injured and three in hospital with knife wounds. Officials believe the blaze was linked to the clash, which was thought to have been between Kurds and Afghans. “Many of the cabins have burned down or are still on fire, more than half the camp has been destroyed,” a spokesman at the regional prefect’s office said.

NHS

Mail
A breast cancer drug set to be withdrawn in England was approved yesterday for routine use in Scotland. Kadcyla, widely considered the biggest breakthrough treatment in the past decade, has been available to women in England for nearly three years through the temporary Cancer Drugs Fund. But NHS watchdog NICE said in a draft decision that the average £90,000-per-patient price is too high. Last night cancer charities called on NICE to reverse its provisional decision and grant permanent access to the drug. If it does not, women in Scotland will be the only patients in the UK eligible to receive Kadcyla free on the NHS, meaning more than 1,200 women a year in England would miss out. Kadcyla is known to extend patients’ lives by six months on average. Some are still alive after five years.

Times
A life-extending breast cancer drug rejected as too expensive for England and Wales is to be made available to Scottish patients. Scotland has also become the first part of the United Kingdom to offer a pill that cuts the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent after NHS England fought a court battle to avoid paying for it. Campaigners warned that English taxpayers would not put up with subsidising treatments in Scotland that they could not get themselves. Scottish public spending is £10,500 a head against £8,800 in England, with the NHS getting £2,100 and £1,900 per person respectively. English and Welsh taxpayers contribute more to Scottish health spending through the Barnett formula.

Reuters
Britain’s healthcare cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE said on Tuesday that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy drug Opdivo was not worth using on the state health service for treating head and neck cancer due to its high price. The draft decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the latest example of an expensive new cancer drug being spurned by the watchdog over cost issues. Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said the decision would deny patients “a genuine breakthrough treatment” and he urged NICE and Bristol to work together to reach an agreement on price. Opdivo is also approved to treat a number of other cancers.

Scotland

Times
Nicola Sturgeon and her senior ministers held more than 80 meetings with European leaders and other influential figures in the weeks after the Brexit vote as they tried to win support for Scotland’s future within Europe. Travel and engagement details obtained from the Scottish government show the extent of the first minister’s charm offensive in Europe. In the five months following last June’s referendum, Ms Sturgeon travelled to Belgium, Germany, Bosnia and Iceland while her two senior Brexit ministers visited Germany, Belgium, Italy, France and Malta. Among those the first minister met were Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission; Martin Schulz, president of the European parliament; Laurent Fabius, the former prime minister of France, and Michael Roth, Germany’s Europe minister.

Independent
Scotland would be “most welcome” to join the EU if it voted for independence, according to a group of 50 politicians. The open letter, signed by 26 MEPs and members of national and regional parliaments in Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Belgium, declared that there was a “tremendous amount of goodwill from across the continent towards Scotland’s European aspirations”. The letter was mostly signed by Green MEPs, the same party that supported Scotland’s first bid for independence in 2014. The group lamented UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s push for a hard Brexit and acknowledged that Scotland, as a whole, had voted to remain. “Therefore, if Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to seek to maintain European Union membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth, and orderly as possible,” the letter, addressed to Scottish parliament, read. 

Guardian
Fifty European politicians have said Scotland would be “most welcome” to rejoin the European Union as a full member if it voted for independence. The group of mainly Green party politicians said they would help ensure any transition to full membership was “as swift, smooth and orderly as possible”. The letter to Holyrood was signed by 26 MEPs as well as members of national and regional parliaments in Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Belgium. They said: “The question of Scotland’s constitutional future, and your relationships with the UK and the EU, are for the people of Scotland to decide. It is not our place to tell Scotland what path you should take. If Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to seek to maintain EU membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth and orderly as possible.

Russia

Mail
Theresa May and Donald Trump last night agreed there was a ‘window of opportunity’ to persuade Russia to end its support for Bashar al-Assad. In a clear sign that the pair have agreed that Assad must go, the Prime Minister and US President pledged to work together to convince Vladimir Putin to stop helping the Syrian regime. But they did not reveal what sanctions they will seek to impose on the Russian leader if he refuses to comply with their plan.  The two leaders spoke about the crisis by telephone as the US president thanked the PM for her backing of his military strikes against Syrian government forces last week. The Prime Minister, who is on a short walking holiday in Wales, is being kept up to date on events in Syria

Independent
Russia faces being hit with new international sanctions amid soaring tensions in the wake of the deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria. Spearheading a drive to gather support for the move at the G7 meeting in Tuscany, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin and his allies had a choice of either backing the “toxic regime” of Bashar al-Assad or helping the world end Syria’s bloody six-year conflict. Mr Johnson said sanctions could target key Russian and Syrian military figures who have assisted the Assad regime, mirroring punitive measures put in place following Mr Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. But as news of the potential punishment for Moscow emerged, Russian diplomatic insiders sought to drive a wedge between the US and UK, claiming that the situation was “too serious to spend too much time on Boris” and that they would wait to hear what the Americans came forward with.

Times
Theresa May threw her weight behind efforts to impose sanctions on Russia over its backing for President Assad last night in the face of European opposition. The prime minister said after a 20-minute call with Donald Trump that the US president had created a “window of opportunity” for Vladimir Putin to change course. She also backed his efforts to apply pressure on China to curb North Korea and supported his toughening position against Iran’s influence in the Middle East. Her intervention will dismay European allies, who were resisting plans set out by Boris Johnson for sanctions against Russian military officials. Germany and Italy made clear that they would not support the foreign secretary’s initial proposals.

Sky News
Senior Russian military officers could face international sanctions for assisting Bashar al Assad’s campaign against his own people, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said. Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mr Johnson said Moscow must now decide whether to stick with the “toxic” Syrian president or work with the G7 nations to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. “Do they want to stick with a toxic regime? Do they want to be eternally associated with a guy who gases his own people?” he asked. “Or do they want to work with the Americans and the rest of the G7 and indeed like-minded countries for a new future for Syria?”

Times
Donald Trump and Theresa May’s public commitment to breaking the alliance between President Putin and President Assad of Syria is designed to change the dynamic at the G7 meeting in Italy today. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, face an uphill task to convince other leading industrial nations unanimously to back plans for fresh sanctions on Russia. Until last night, Downing Street had declined to support the plan publicly. Meanwhile different US figures gave mixed messages about the administration’s strength of feeling about ousting Assad. As the meetings began, Mr Johnson was a lonely figure in Lucca publicly talking about sanctions, with sceptical noises from some other G7 nations.

Mail
The United States has concluded Russia knew in advance of Syria‘s chemical weapons attack last week, a senior U.S. official said Monday. The official said a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment.  Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. The official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital couldn’t have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

Education

Mail
Academy fat cats now often earn more than the heads of elite private schools because of an ‘immoral’ culture of milking the taxpayer, a teaching union has warned. Many heads of multi-academy trusts earn ‘obscene’ six-figure salaries as the ‘rot of greed’ sets into the education system, activists said. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said the bloated state school pay-packets were ‘unsustainable’ and dwarfed many of those in the independent sector. The union voted to lobby the government to curb salaries for academy bosses, which are often the equivalent of pay for five or more front-line teachers. It comes after it was revealed England’s highest-paid academy chief, Sir Daniel Moynihan, got a pay rise of five per cent to around £425,000 last year to run the Harris Federation.

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