Brexit

The Express has an interesting take on the latest negotiations.

BRITAIN could fully cut ties with the European Union at the end of the year with no deal in a bid to focus minds before striking an EU-UK trade pact early next year, Brussels sources have revealed.
EU insiders claimed Britain could be allowed to exit the transition period without an agreement so both sides feel the “pain” of no deal before resuming talks in February or March. One EU diplomat suggested it would enable talks to start afresh after months of acrimonious exchanges in the wrangling over future state subsidies policy and access to Britain’s fishing grounds. The move comes after senior figures in Brussels gave up hope of an agreement being reached in time for next week’s crunch summit of European leaders.

But even if negotiations fail, talks could continue, says the Mail.

Britain and the EU will keep discussions open and formulate a ‘mini-deals’ even if an overarching plan for the UK post-Brexit can’t be agreed upon.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord David Frost will come up with ‘mini-deals’ on key areas – including road transport and aviation – if no-deal Brexit starts looking likely.
It comes ahead of a highly-anticipated European Council summit on October 15, with Boris Johnson  having said he wants the outline of a trade agreement to be in place before it starts – and threatened to walk away if it is not.
Mr Barnier responded to the PM’s ultimatum with an equally definitive stance, warning EU leaders to stand firm over a Brexit trade deal and seek further UK concessions.

And next week’s deadline for the culmination of talks will fail says the Express.

BREXIT negotiators are braced for their trade talks to go into extra time after admitting next week’s deadline for a deal will be missed.
Boris Johnson and senior Eurocrats were aiming to at least thrash out an outline agreement in time for an EU summit in Brussels starting next Thursday. But Brussels sources were yesterday expecting the wrangle to drag on into next month after informal discussions this week failed to make a breakthrough. One diplomat said: “It’s not a matter of deadlines. First of all it was July, then August, and now mid-October.

The Times also claims talks will go on … and on …

British and EU negotiators have agreed to keep talking to offset the most disruptive aspects of a no-deal Brexit even if trade negotiations break down.
In a sign of growing trust between the two sides before next week’s critical EU summit Lord Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, and Michel Barnier, his EU counterpart, have agreed that even if a wider deal proves impossible to reach, contact will continue.
In such an event the two teams would spend November attempting to put together “mini-deals” in areas such as aviation and road transport to offset the likely disruption when the transition period ends on December 31.

The Guardian claims the ‘tunnel’ talks will continue.

British and EU Brexit negotiators have renewed belief that the bloc’s leaders will be able to usher in an intense and decisive “tunnel” negotiation for the last weeks of October when they meet at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.
A meeting between the UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, in London on Friday morning was said by diplomatic sources to have been positive, with the negotiating teams now due to reengage on Monday.

More talks are due next week, reports the Independent.

EU and UK negotiators will get back to the negotiating table next week in Brussels, ahead of Boris Johnson’s deadline to get a free trade agreement and avert a no-deal Brexit.
The prime minister had said he wants an agreement secured by the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday of next week, and threatened to walk away if none is secured – but progress has been scarce so far.

Fisheries

Our fish are still causing a problem, says the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON is ready to call the bluff of Emmanuel Macron according to a political expert, who claimed the French President will not scupper a wider post-Brexit trade deal because of fishing demands.
Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has been under mounting pressure from leading fishing nations in the EU, including Belgium, Denmark and France, over gaining access to UK waters beyond the transition period. UK chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has not wavered from his commitment to take Britain out of the controversial Common Fisheries Policy and control of UK shores.
Ahead of a crucial EU summit next week, Clement Beaune, European affairs minister and close ally of Mr Macron, has maintained France will not sell out its fishermen in order to strike a deal with Britain.
He said: “Our fishermen will not be a bargaining chip for Brexit, they will not have to pay the price for Britain’s choices.”

EU

The bloc is convinced Boris will cave in, reports the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON’s deadline to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU is just days away, but EU sources are convinced the UK will continue to enter discussions with the bloc.
Last month Boris Johnson imposed a hard deadline of October 15 for a post-Brexit trade deal to be reached with the EU. But the two sides have still failed to agree on a number of areas, raising doubts a deal will be reached by Thursday.
But EU sources have cast doubt on whether the UK will walk out on the trade talks next week.

The Sun says the bloc thinks Boris is bluffing.

BRUSSELS will call Britain’s bluff over the PM’s threat to collapse trade talks next weekend if a deal is not reached.
The EU is already laying the groundwork for negotiations to continue to the end of the month and beyond.
Britain’s dealmaker David Frost has said an “outline agreement” needs to be ready for a key summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.
No10 has warned it is willing to walk away and start ramping up planning for No Deal.

And Scotland’s attempt to stay part of the EU have been dashed says the Express.

BRUSSELS has shot down Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP plans to link Scotland closely with the European Union after Brexit with an EU official warning “it could create a difficult position”.
A new Bill put forward by Ms Sturgeon’s Constitution Secretary hopes to allow Scottish ministers a discretionary power to align laws with EU legislation. The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill means on devolved matters Scotland can keep in line with those in Europe “when appropriate and practicable to do so”.

Lockdown

Monday’s statement in Parliament will outline the new rules, says the Mail.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a Commons statement on Monday setting out new coronavirus outbreak restrictions as reports claim true figure of infections doubled in a week to 45,000 a day, it has emerged tonight.
Mr Johnson will use the occasion to outline a new ‘tiered’ approach to how local Covid situations will be treated.

ITV News also has the story.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a statement to MPs on Monday, as the three-tier “traffic light” system simplifying local Covid restrictions is set to be introduced across England.
Mr Johnson will outline the new “tiered” approach to how local Covid situations will be treated.
The three tiers, which are also known as Local Covid Alert Levels, are expected to be called medium, high and very high.

But the decision has not been unanimous, says the Telegraph.

Imposing more new coronavirus restrictions would be “too hasty”, scientists have said after figures revealed that up to a quarter of patients currently in hospital with Covid-19 caught the virus after being admitted.
Leading statisticians called on the Government to “pause”, having shown that a significant proportion of the escalating hospital case total is down to poor Covid security within trusts.
Across England as a whole, 18 per cent of patients in hospital with Covid-19 tested positive for the virus for the first time seven days or more after admission.

Curfew

Will Boris give in to pressure to scrap the curfew, asks the Sun?  Time will tell.

DOWNING Street is under intense pressure to scrap the hated 10pm curfew after just 30 outbreaks were linked to pubs and restaurants across England last week.
The news came a day after lockdown-loving Professor Chris Whitty claimed almost a third of recent cases could be traced to hospitality venues.
Pub groups and a growing number of Tory MPs want an immediate end to the curfew and have accused ministers of “cobbling together” the numbers to justify their point of view.

Furlough

Rishi has a new plan, reports the Telegraph.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, has unveiled a new furlough-style scheme to pay workers’ wages, with Britain braced for stricter lockdown restrictions to be imposed from the middle of next week.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, will spend this weekend fine-tuning a plan to divide England into three different tiers according to the severity of local coronavirus outbreaks.
Mr Johnson is weighing up whether hairdressers and leisure centres should be closed alongside pubs, bars and restaurants in the worst-affected areas.

The Mail also outlines his plans.

Rishi Sunak turned on the public spending taps again today with the introduction of a new ‘safety net’ furlough scheme for workers at pubs, restaurants and other businesses forced to shut because of new coronavirus restrictions.
In a move that will cost the Treasury billions, employees will get two-thirds of their wages – up to a maximum of  £2,100 – all covered by the taxpayer, in a dramatic expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) due to come in to effect at the start of November.

This is a change from original plans, says the Guardian.

Rishi Sunak has attempted to head off mounting anger over plans for imminent new Covid restrictions by announcing a new furlough scheme that will pay two-thirds of workers’ wages in hospitality firms ordered to close their doors.
The hastily arranged announcement was made in a video message from the Treasury, as Downing Street briefed local leaders in the north-east and north-west of England about tough curbs set to be introduced next week.
On Monday, Boris Johnson will make a Commons statement outlining a widely-trailed new “three-tiered” approach to how local Covid situations will be treated which is designed to simplify the current patchwork of restrictions.

Second wave

It’s different but the same, says the Times.

The second wave is here, but it need not be a repeat of the first. Back in March, the virus had existed for barely four months. Now, as it approaches its first birthday, it is the most studied pathogen on the planet.
As the temperature drops and we move inside infections are bound to rise, but doctors and scientists believe that, even without a vaccine, what we have learnt will make us far better able to cope with the long winter ahead.

And on the Continent, the governments are planning to fight the second wave says the Times.

Europe’s governments are tightening restrictions in an attempt to check an epidemic that threatens once again to run out of control.
With the virus spreading faster than at any time since the spring, leaders ordered new measures, including the closure of bars and compulsory masks, as they tried to avoid a second round of national lockdowns which many fear could lead to social unrest.
A state of emergency was declared in Madrid, Warsaw pledged on-the-spot fines for ignoring infection controls and France prepared to extend the curbs already imposed in the capital.

Shielding

Looks like we oldies will be hibernating for the season, says the Mirror.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits face spending winter inside as the Government prepares to resume shielding the vulnerable in hotspots, it has been reported.
Under new measures that could be announced next week, vulnerable people in areas with high infection rates could be told to stay indoors.

Face muzzles

How’s your yashmak?  Looks like we’re going to be asked to wear them more often, says the Times.

Masks should be mandatory outdoors as well as indoors when there is a risk of coming within two metres of other people, doctors urged yesterday.
Those older than 60, or who are obese or have other health conditions making them particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, should be supplied with “medical grade” masks, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, its chairman, told The Times that “every day counts” as the virus spreads “at an alarming rate”. Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said that compulsory masks in offices “will be taken into consideration” by ministers but Dr Nagpaul said: “You have got to more than consider — you have got to now act.”

And they could even be worn inside, says the Sun.

FACE masks for staff in offices are “being considered”, a Government minister has revealed.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that making face masks mandatory “does have some benefit” as the list of places they must be worn has grown to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Jenrick said yesterday: “It does have some benefit.

Hospitals

More patients are flooding into our medical centres, says the Times.

Britain is back where it was in March as hospitals fill up with Covid-19 patients, the deputy chief medical officer for England has warned.
Jonathan Van-Tam gave what was described as a “punchy” briefing to MPs today in which he said that intensive care units in the northwest could be full within three weeks.
Figures published yesterday show there are now 3,090 coronavirus patients being treated in English hospitals, seven fewer than on the day the national lockdown was imposed. On Wednesday 491 new Covid patients were admitted, close to the 586 on March 19, the week before Boris Johnson told the nation to stay at home.

Numbers of patients are rising, says the Mail.

A total of 491 people were put on wards because of severe coronavirus on Wednesday this week, up from 328 on the same day last week.
During that time the average number of daily admissions has surged from 285 to 441, showing that hospitalisations are picking up now that the number of cases is hitting high levels.
Yesterday there were 3,090 coronavirus patients in hospitals across England, compared with 3,097 on March 23, the date Boris Johnson announced the lockdown.

Education

More teachers are being needed in schools says the Times.

A leading school has drafted in alumni to help run lessons due to staffing shortages caused by coronavirus.
City of London School for Girls made a “call-out” to its network of old girls, asking for young graduates to help.
Jenny Brown, the head teacher, said: “We have a lovely supercrew of 12 recent graduates who have come in. What really matters here is for everyone to be equipped to continue learning and protecting what is fundamental.

Honours

The delayed Queen’s Honour list includes members of SAGE, says the Telegraph.

Leading scientists on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have been rewarded with honours despite the ongoing controversy over the scientific advice that led the UK into lockdown.
Six members of the committee have been awarded OBEs for “services to the Covid-19 response” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, alongside dozens of health workers and volunteers who have fought the virus on the front line.
Meanwhile, Government officials including England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and senior officials from Public Health England are understood to have been passed over for honours amid concerns that their handling of the pandemic could be criticised during a future public inquiry.

But should they have received recognition?  The Sun queries the honours.

SIX members of the Government’s scientific advisory committee have received gongs in the Queen’s honours – despite the fact their advice could be subject to a future inquiry.
The SAGE members will be made OBE for their work during the pandemic though Tory MPs have claimed the decision is “premature”.
The Daily Mail reports that the move has provoked the fury of Conservative MPs who say that some of their advice has proved controversial and could be subject to an investigation.

And ordinary people have also been honoured, reports the Times.

Hundreds of people who helped the vulnerable and lifted the nation’s spirits at the height of the coronavirus pandemic have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
A Glasgow restaurateur who fed NHS workers free of charge and a boy of 16 who made personal protective equipment on his 3D printer are among more than 400 “unsung heroes” recognised for their service.
They include a nurse who founded a national movement to make scrubs for frontline workers and a 100-year-old man who raised more than £400,000 while fasting during Ramadan.

Armed services

The Telegraph reports more cuts to our fighting forces.

The proposed “warfighting” Division of the Army will be slimmed down and delayed by at least five years, the Ministry of Defence has admitted, which could see our forces ‘hemorrhaging credibility’.
The MoD has said it will not be able to field a full warfighting division, universally understood to be made up of about 10,000 troops, until the 2030s and has changed the accepted understanding of the size of such a force.
The new division was set to be up and running by 2025 and include troops and equipment “optimised for high intensity combat operations”.

Talk Radio

Nigel makes the news in the Telegraph.

Nigel Farage has been involved in talks about a bid to buy national radio station Talk Radio from Rupert Murdoch for £15 million, The Telegraph understands.
The Brexit Party leader said two meetings with financial backers had been held to try to buy the national radio station from News UK, which is controlled by the billionaire media mogul.

Big cats

And an exclusive report in the Sun claims big cats are roaming our countryside.

A TRACKER who honed her skills with an African tribe is sure Britain’s mysterious big cat population is breeding and booming.
Rhoda Watkins, 42, has spent 20 years on their trail.
She investigates changes in the natural environment caused by predators — a skill she learned with Namibia’s San bushmen, renowned as the best trackers in the world.
And she says all evidence points to pumas, lynx and a mixture of leopards prowling the UK.

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