Brexit

There are still a few stories about our departure from the EU.   The Express says:

A SENIOR Tory MP has laid down a challenge to the Government to deliver a “swift, clean Brexit” before the end of next year.
Former cabinet minister Owen Paterson has written to Leave supporters saying their efforts “must be rewarded” next year.
Mr Paterson is a leading member of the campaign group Leave Means Leave which is campaigning to ensure the Government delivers Brexit quickly and does not give in to the tactics of Remoaners to dilute it by staying in the single market and the customs union.
He called for the law which joined Britain to the EU in the 1970s needs to be repealed in 2017.
He said: “The UK has taken a massive step forward in the past year, 2016 was the year the British people voted to get their country back.
“However, to take back control we must repeal the 1972 Act and 2017 is the year this must be delivered.”
He praised the thousands of campaigners across Britain who delivered the vote which has won the country’s freedom from Brussels rule.
He added: “This commitment will not go unrewarded as there are so many benefits the country will see because of the Brexit vote.”

And in her first Christmas message, Prime Minister Theresa May still promises to get us out.  Most media have a report on her message; the Mail reports:

Theresa May today vows to unite the country after a year of Brexit divisions and forge a ‘bold new role’ for the UK in the world.
In an upbeat Christmas message, the Prime Minister calls for people to ‘come together’ and help make a success of the decision to leave the European Union.
There had been much to celebrate in 2016, she says, with great opportunities to be seized after we leave the EU – as long as Britain is confident about the future.
Her words will be seen as an attempt to address the splits between supporters and opponents of EU membership exposed by the June 23 vote, won by the Out campaign by a 52 to 48 per cent margin.
In her first Christmas message as PM, Mrs May spoke about her personal faith and her upbringing as the daughter of a vicar. She said: ‘Coming together is also important for us as a country.

EU

On the continent, the European Union still manages to make the news.  The Express reports on the bloc’s international trade.

BELEAGUERED Brussels was dealt another severe body blow today as Europe’s top judge threw a massive spanner in the works over its hopes to seal future trade deals across the globe.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) sparked pandemonium with a strong hint that the EU will have to seek the approval of all national parliaments before striking economic pacts from now on.
Eurocrats were left humiliated earlier this year when the tiny Belgian region of Wallonia held up the signing of a trade deal with Canada, sparking a European constitutional crisis.
And whilst the impasse was eventually resolved Brussels had to cave in and grant the local parliament, which represents just 3.2 million people, sweeping concessions which could prevent the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) from ever being fully implemented. Today’s non-binding opinion, issued by the ECJ’s advocate-general, could also have a seismic impact on Britain’s exit from the bloc, as any post-Brexit trade deal will now have to be ratified by scorned member states.

The Telegraph concentrates on security.

Europe’s open borders are putting Britain’s security at risk, former police chiefs have warned after it emerged that the terrorist behind the Berlin Christmas market attack travelled unhindered through three countries before being killed in Italy.
Anis Amri, the most wanted man in Europe, travelled from Berlin to the French Alps and then onto Italy without being stopped at any point on his 1,000 mile journey.
It was only after a chance encounter outside a suburban station at 3am that he was shot dead by a rookie Italian police officer who recognised him.
Counter-terrorism experts and Tory MPs on Friday warned that the Schengen Area, which enables passport-free travel across the European Union, is being “routinely exploited by Isil”.
Richard Walton, a former head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, told The Telegraph: “Schengen poses a huge risk of terrorism, porous borders across mainland Europe are continuing to be exploited by Isil.
“They have a clear strategy and have set out to carry out attacks across mainland Europe. Europe’s weakness is our weakness, it is a concern for us because if you’re neighbours are insecure by definition.
“We need European countries to get their act together. Sooner or later they are going to get across the Channel.”

And Reuters also reports the opinions of eurosceptics:

Leading eurosceptics were quick on Friday to blame open European borders under the Schengen pact for allowing the fugitive sought for the Berlin Christmas market attack to travel into France and on to Italy, where he was stopped and shot dead.
Italy’s interior minister said the man killed in a pre-dawn shootout with police in a suburb of the northern city of Milan was “without a shadow of a doubt” Anis Amri, 24, a Tunisian suspected of driving the truck that smashed through the market on Monday, killing 12 people.
A judicial source told Reuters that a rail ticket found on Amri’s body indicated he had travelled by high-speed train from France to the northern Italian city of Turin. Amri then caught a regional train to the Milan suburbs.

General election

The Sun reports that the Labour leader has challenged the Prime Minister to go to the country.

JEREMY Corbyn has told Theresa May that he is ready for a snapp general election if the PM calls one – despite Labour trailing way behind the Tories in the opinion polls.
The hapless Labour leader said his party was in a “very strong, organised position” despite recent disasters at the ballot box.
In an interview with The Independent, the veteran leftie said he would order Labour MPs to vote for the repeal of the Fixed-Terms Parliaments Act so Mrs May could call an early election.
“If she calls an election, she calls an election. We’re ready for it,” Mr Corbyn said.
“We’ve got more members than we’ve ever had before, we’ve paid off all our debts to the party, we don’t have any mortgages, we are in a very strong, organised position.”

And the Mirror claims the bloc’s attitude is hardening against the UK’s withdrawal.

Theresa May is being warned that European support for a favourable Brexit deal has “declined significantly”.
EU opposition to Britain’s withdrawal has hardened in the six months since the referendum, claims a report by study group UK in a Changing Europe.
Even Britain’s traditional allies will be unwilling to support the Prime Minister when she begins her Brexit negotiations next year.
Many EU leaders believe the UK is living “on Fantasy Island” over its hope it can strike a deal – and they are preparing for a “showdown” when the talks starts, says the report.
Co-author Sara Hagemann of the London School of Economics said Mrs May’s post-referendum tour of EU capitals “seems to have generated little support for the British cause”.

North Korea

The situation in what the Star calls the ‘hermit kingdom’ continues to cause concern.

HERMIT kingdom North Korea has issued a terrifying warning to the West, threatening “imminent war”.
Pyongyang hit out after crippling sanctions was slapped on leader Kim Jong-un and his cronies by the UN.
The West imposed sanctions on North Korea’s mineral exports following the fifth – and most powerful – nuke test in September.
These sanctions are expected to cut the rogue state’s annual $3billion income by $750million – and the government is not happy.
“The latest UNSC ‘resolution on sanctions’ has created the danger of imminent war on the Korean Peninsula, as there are no judicial and institutional mechanisms to avert a war and armed conflicts.
“The ‘resolution’ is as good as a declaration of war,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The statement chillingly added: “The US and other countries involved in adopting the ‘resolution on sanctions’ will have to be wholly responsible for the ensuing consequences.”
It is hoped the sanctions will hit North Korea’s deadly nuke programmes.

Extinction level event

It’s the Sun that carries the prospect of the end of the world today.

THIS terrifying video reveals what would happen if a colossal space rock came hurtling through space and crashed straight into Earth’s surface.
If an asteroid were to strike – and we are due an extinction-level event – it’s likely that it would hit water.
Earth is 71 per cent ocean, after all.
The incredible animation from the folks at Los Alamos National Lab reveals exactly what might happen if it did.
The scientists wanted to figure out whether huge waves as a result of the impact would be large enough to travel to populated coasts.
Their study found that it’s unlikely that it would wipe out civilisation Deep Impact-style.
But it could cause huge water vapours to hurtle into the stratosphere – causing total climate chaos.
Galen Gisler, who used a supercomputer to create the animation, said: “The most significant effect of an impact into the ocean is the injection of water vapour into the stratosphere, with possible climate effects.”
Even asteroids that don’t make it to the surface could have a similar effect on greenhouse gases and wave patterns.
Smaller asteroids that go undetected because they explode before reaching Earth.
They create massive waves of pressure that blast out in all directions and have a huge effect on the water.

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