WAB

So, Boris’ bill has passed through the HoC.  But will it get through the HoL?  The Express speculates.

BORIS JOHNSON’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill sailed through the House of Commons on Thursday but Britons fear peers in the House of Lords may block the Bill from becoming law, an exclusive poll has revealed.
On Thursday night MPs voted 300 to 231 in favour of moving Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill to the House of Lords, in a huge victory for the Prime Minister. But an Express.co.uk has revealed that readers are worried peers may prevent and block the Bill from becoming law, as the Government doesn’t hold a majority in the upper house. Under Theresa May’s Government, peers repeatedly blocked bills from progressing to the final stage.

Trade deal

The Telegraph reports a complaint from the House of Lords.

Boris Johnson has been accused of trying to reduce Parliament to “passive observers” during his negotiations with the EU over a trade deal.
A House of Lords committee complained that a mechanism for giving MPs and peers a say in approving the negotiating objectives had been taken out of Mr Johnson’s version of the deal.
The panel said that while the European Parliament would be able to scrutinise the future trade deal, Westminster politicians would have no such role.

EU

The Express has several stories emanating from the EU.  The first is about fishing.

BRITAIN could find itself embroiled in another ‘cod war’ after Brexit if it expels foreign boats from its waters, the European Union has warned.
Fishing communities the length and breadth of the UK have repeatedly called for European trawlers to be kicked out after the UK leaves the bloc while fishermen on the continent have threatened to retaliate with a blockade of ports. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU, made clear the team of negotiators who will kick off talks with Britain after January 31 will push for continued access.

The Express also reports a comment by a French minister about the timing of the talks.

FRANCE has made clear it does not want to be shackled to the tight deadline British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to impose for the upcoming free trade talks between Britain and the EU.
Mr Johnson has said discussions about the future must be completed by the end of 2020 and that there is ample time to agree a wide-ranging deal. France’s EU minister was sceptical and said it could take three times longer. Amelie de Montchalin said EU member states would bide their time even if that risks causing a chaotic no-deal transition at the end of the year.

And the Express also reports a warning about free movement of people.

BORIS Johnson has been sent a furious warning by livid MEPs who have demanded he guarantee the free movement of Europeans after Brexit.
Brussels’ Green MEP Sven Giegold told a German publication dropouts – in a reference to Britain leaving the bloc – should guarantee free movement to prevent social dumping. He then scolded the Prime Minister, adding the “time for cherry-picking is over”. He said: “With all good will for a quick agreement with London, it must be clear: The time of cherry picking is over.
“There must be no special rules for the access to the EU single market.”

Northern Ireland

Several of the media report on the prospect of power being restored to Stormont.  The Telegraph says:

Sinn Fein has backed a deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland, with president Mary Lou McDonald saying there was the “basis” for an agreement.
The DUP had already signalled its support for the draft deal proposed by the UK and Irish governments meaning the two parties will re-enter a mandatory coalition in Belfast.
President Mary Lou McDonald said: “We now have the basis to restore power sharing, and we’re up for that.
“There’s no doubt there are serious challenges ahead; the impact of Brexit, austerity and other pressing issues.

The second party to sign the deal is highlighted in the Independent.

Sinn Fein has given its backing to a powersharing deal to allow the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland after three years.
With the DUP having already signalled its support for a draft deal proposed by the UK and Irish governments, the republican party’s endorsement means the two parties will re-enter an executive in Belfast.
The wide-ranging deal, published by the governments on Thursday night, contains compromise solutions to the vexed disputes at the heart of the 36-month shutdown of the devolved institutions, such as legislative provisions for Irish language speakers.

The two parties must now work together, says the Mirror.

Northern Ireland’s three-year political deadlock has finally been broken after Sinn Fein accepted a draft deal to restore power-sharing in Stormont.
It follows tentative support from the DUP for a draft deal proposed by the UK and Irish governments.
Under the peace process both the largest unionist party and largest nationalist party must work together for an executive to function.
The republican party’s endorsement means the two parties will re-enter coalition in Belfast – 36-months after the power-sharing agreement collapsed.

And BBC News points out that its three years since the last deal failed.

Sinn Féin have said they will re-enter devolved government in Northern Ireland after three years of deadlock.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had earlier also given its support to a draft deal to restore Stormont’s political institutions.
The British and Irish governments published the draft proposals on Thursday, after nine months of talks.
Stormont’s power-sharing coalition, led by the DUP and Sinn Féin, collapsed in January 2017 over a green energy row.

Stormont could reassemble very soon, says the Times.

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government is expected to be restored within days after Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party signed up to a draft deal brokered by the British and Irish governments.
Three years after Sinn Fein walked out of the executive, causing the collapse of the Stormont assembly, the party announced it would return. Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Fein president, described the moment as historic, adding: “Let’s get back to work.”

The Mail claims it’s a good move.

Boris Johnson hailed a ‘great step forward for Northern Ireland’ last night after nationalist and Unionist parties agreed to restore devolved government.
Three years after power-sharing collapsed, Sinn Fein and the DUP signed a new deal to resurrect the Stormont assembly and executive.
The historic decision is a major victory for the UK and Irish governments, which drew up the agreement – and means the Northern Ireland Assembly could resume sitting as early as today.
The breakthrough is also a success for Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith. There was speculation last night that he could keep his job in the upcoming reshuffle, despite earlier predictions he would be sacked.

Housing

The Mail reports on a row within the Cabinet.

Two Cabinet ministers are at loggerheads in a ‘class war’ over the Government’s policy on housing.
The row involves multi-millionaire Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and his deputy Esther McVey, who is from a ‘blue collar’ background.
In recent months there have been heated discussions in the department over how the Government should be spending its housing cash – and which voters it should be targeting.

Terrorism

An extreme group has been falsely labelled terrorists, reports the Telegraph.

Counter-terrorism police have been forced to re-write a guide which placed Extinction Rebellion (XR) on a list of extremist ideologies alongside neo-Nazis.
The climate emergency campaign group was included in a 12-page guide produced by counter-terrorism police in the south east of England, called “Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism,” and marked “official.”
XR featured alongside neo-Nazi extremism and an Islamist group linked to terrorism as one whose members should be reported to the Government’s Prevent safeguarding programme charged with steering people away from extremism.

Education

Is there discrimination within Ofsted?  The Times reports.

The leaders of two of Britain’s biggest academy chains have accused Ofsted of favouring middle-class children with its new inspection regime.
Chief executives of school chains representing a total of 61,000 pupils told The Times that they were deeply concerned that inspectors were valuing a broad curriculum over adequately preparing teenagers for their GCSEs.
In particular, they object to schools being marked down for giving pupils three years to study for the exams rather than the traditional two.
Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, said: “It is a middle-class framework for middle-class kids.”

iNews reports on the Erasmus programme which involves students going abroad.

MPs have voted against a Brexit clause that would have committed the UK Government to keeping the Erasmus+  programme that helps students study abroad.
The vote does not kill off the UK’s participation in the scheme but it has raised concerns among students, their families, and universities.
Liberal Democrat MP and physics teacher Layla Moran, who tabled the clause to save Erasmus+, said securing the UK’s continued access to the scheme should have been a “no-brainer”.
Despite the Government saying it is “committed to continuing the academic relationship between the UK and the EU”, there is no guarantee that Britain will remain in the Erasmus scheme.
The Erasmus scheme is an EU programme that helps students study in other countries.

Crime

The rise in insurance premiums is highlighted in the Telegraph.

The Treasury is raking in millions from rising car crime as motorists have seen their insurance premiums increase by almost £100 a year.
The average driver’s motor premium has risen by a quarter from £387 a year to £477 since 2014 as car theft jumped by 60 per cent in the same period to 115,000 offences in 2018/19, a ten-year high.
The surge in crime has generated a multi-million pound windfall for the Treasury through a “stealth tax” known as Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) that pays £12 in every £100 of motor premiums into the Government’s coffers.
The tax netted the Treasury £1.4 billion in 2018 from motorists, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), enough to pay for more than half the 20,000 police officers that Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit over the next three years after almost a decade of cuts in numbers.

Police

Police have been accused of turning a blind eye to child sexual abuse, reports Breitbart.

Police “did nothing” as a mostly Kurdish alleged rape gang is said to have sexually exploited and “forcibly raped” a girl from the age of 14 in Sheffield, according to prosecutors.
Sheffield Crown Court was told that the underage girl “fell into the clutches of [the alleged gang] and others who abused and exploited her” after her mother died and she was taken into care, according to a court report buried in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire sub-section of the England sub-section of the BBC News website.
“She may as well have had a target on her back as far as those who were criminally-minded were concerned,” prosecutor Peter Hampton told the court.
But when she approached South Yorkshire Police for help in 2011, aged 15, “she found no effective action was taken to stop it,” Hampton said.

Defence

The MoD has been criticised for overspending, reports Sky News.

The budget to maintain Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system has overrun by more than £1bn after the Ministry of Defence failed to learn from past mistakes, according to a new report.
The National Audit Office (NAO) also said poor management of the infrastructure to upgrade the MoD’s four Vanguard-class submarines has meant delays of up to six years.
The watchdog said “inappropriate” contracts with outside contractors and beginning building work on facilities before the designs were “sufficiently mature” had added hundreds of millions of pounds to costs.
The NAO also highlighted a lack of technical skills within the MoD, which resulted in the “gold-plating” of designs as staff were unable to challenge regulators when they insisted upon overly-complex specifications.

Rail travel

Travelling by train could get cheaper, reports the Times.

Britain’s biggest independent train ticket retailer will offer “split” fares in a move that could blow a £750 million hole in rail industry finances.
From today, Trainline will allow passengers to buy split tickets — breaking a lengthy journey down into a series of shorter ones — which can more than halve the price of a ticket. The system is legal as long as the train stops at the stations shown on the multiple tickets.
Split ticketing has been a well-known tactic for years. A number of ticket selling websites including  Raileasy and TrainPal automatically calculate splits on passengers’ behalf.

And you can get details on your phone, says the Sun.

A NEW travel app could save rail users an average of 61 per cent in fares.
Trainline has launched SplitSave which automatically finds several cheaper tickets instead of one for the whole journey.
The new feature means that UK train travellers could collectively save millions of pounds, said the company.
It says the site can save travellers cash on almost two thirds of routes — with no need to unnecessarily change trains.

Air travel

The 737 Max plane is criticised in the Times.

Boeing employees joked that the 737 Max was “designed by clowns” who were “supervised by monkeys” before two of the jets crashed, killing 346 people.
Eight months before the first crash, two staff said they would not let their families travel on a Max, according to an email exchange in a tranche of internal Boeing communications released by congressional investigators.
On October 29, 2018, a Max flown by Lion Air, an Indonesian carrier, crashed, killing all 189 people on board. A second crash, on March 10 last year, involved a Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines. All 157 passengers and crew died.
The Max has been grounded since the Ethiopian crash while a faulty flight control system linked to the disasters is fixed. Crash investigations continue.

And the Telegraph quotes staff comments on the plane.

Boeing staff warned they would not take their own families on a 737 Max jet and joked the planes were “designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys” before two fatal crashes, damning internal messages show.
Workers developing flight simulators to train the airliner’s pilots also discussed covering up errors and using “Jedi mind tricks” to avoid the attention of regulators – sparking questions over whether safety was compromised to hit deadlines and financial targets.
Boeing plunged into crisis in March when one of its 737 Max airliners crashed, the second such aircraft to go down in five months at a cost of 346 lives. The Max was grounded within days, with the crashes linked to a new system on the jet that pilots were unaware of.

The Star also has the story.

Boeing workers mocked the 737 Max plane as being “designed by clowns” before two crashes that killed almost 350 people.
US politicians investigating the aircraft manufacturer said the internal memos showed “a co-ordinated effort to conceal information” about flaws in the jet.
In one message, an employee said he would not let his family travel on a 737 Max.
He asked a colleague: “Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t.”
The other ­employee replied: “No.”

Bus travel

Pressure to keep a promise made during the election campaign is highlighted in iNews.

The Treasury is under mounting pressure to provide more money for bus services in order to match the Conservatives’ post-election rhetoric.
Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid have repeatedly promised to deliver for poorer areas of England and Wales which gave the Tories their majority in the House of Commons.
But bus industry leaders complain that the Treasury has not yet provided the funding needed to improve services by reducing congestion on the roads and helping firms switch to green vehicles. The Chancellor faces calls to put extra money into the industry at the Budget in March.
In September the Government announced a National Bus Strategy, backed by £220m of funding, which aimed to reverse services axed during the austerity years and use technology to help passengers access the network more easily.

Iran

The leader of the opposition will protest against a potential war with Iran, reports the Morning Star.

JEREMY CORBYN will join tens of thousands of protesters across Britain on Saturday calling for “no war with Iran.”
Anti-war campaigners are demanding the British government prevent the escalating tensions between Iran and the US.
The “critical” situation follows the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on Friday January 3 in Iraq by a US missile strike.
The attack was ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Protest organisers Stop the War described the assassination as “a provocative act that has taken us terrifyingly close to a new war in the Middle East.”

ITV News also reports Corbyn’s plans.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to address protesters at a “no war on Iran” rally in London.
Despite the apparent ratcheting down of tensions between the US and Iran, demonstrators are set to march on Trafalgar Square demanding there should be no new conflict in the Gulf.
The protest follows the killing of the senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike on January 3.
Tehran responded with a series of limited missile strikes on US bases – which caused no casualties – but has signalled it does not want to see any further escalation.

And the Telegraph reports the admission by Iran that it shot down an airliner.

Iran has admitted that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.
State television, reading out a military statement, blamed “human error” for shooting down the plane that came down over Tehran. President Rouhani apologised for an “unforgivable mistake”.
It comes after days of denials from Iran that it played any role in the disaster.

The Times also carries the admission.

The Iranian military has admitted it “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed this week, killing all 176 people on board.
The announcement, which was made on Iranian state TV, blamed “human error” for the tragedy and said that the aircraft had flown close to a sensitive military site and had been mistaken for a “hostile plane”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, said. ““Investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake.”

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