Brexit

The Express has a warning.

BORIS JOHNSON could “blink at the last minute but present it as a win” as post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU threaten to collapse that could result in a disastrous no deal scenario for both sides, political experts have warned.
The UK and European Union began negotiations on the future relationship in March after Boris Johnson  delivered on his promise to “get Brexit done” on January 31. But talks have quickly fallen apart, with London and Brussels trading crushing blows and brutal insults over their negotiating stances and demands for certain elements in any post-Brexit agreement. Key areas such as the level playing field, state aid, tax and access to the single market all still remain unresolved – with no solution in sight.
Pressure has intensified, with the Prime Minister and his UK negotiating team continuing to insist a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU must be signed before the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.

But a second story in the Express claims the EU’s negotiator is in denial.

THE European Union has been sent a huge warning as post Brexit trade talks edge towards a disastrous collapse, with Michel Barnier accused of being in “denial” and having his “head in the sand” over the UK’s threat to walk away from negotiations.
The two sides, led the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and Brussels counterpart Mr Barnier, began negotiations on the future relationship in March after Boris Johnson delivered on his promise to “get Brexit done” on January 31. But the talks have quickly descended into chaos, with the UK and EU trading brutal blows and insults over their negotiating stances and demands for certain elements in any post-Brexit agreement. Key areas such as the level playing field, state aid, tax and access to the single market all still remain unresolved – with no solution in sight.

The Independent claims the bloc will not change its demands.

The European Union’s Brexit trade demands will not change under UK pressure, Michel Barnier’s senior advisor has said – with just one month to go to agree an extension.
Stefaan de Rynck told an online conference that member states had again backed the “maximalist” negotiating mandate this week in discussions with Brussels’ chief negotiator.
But he said the EU was open to discussions about an extension to give more time for talks, and warned that a no-deal would prove to be “very, very disruptive”.
The EU is insisting the UK sign up to a slate of safeguards on product standards and human rights in exchange for access to its market – that Brussels calls the “level playing-field”.

EU

The EU is worried about money, reports the Express.

BRUSSELS has begged European capitals to offer larger guarantees to the bloc’s budget in order to safeguard against a “hard Brexit”.
EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn said member states should be prepared to hand over more cash in case Britain doesn’t pay its full Brexit bill. The UK left the EU at the end of January, but agreed to continue paying towards various financial obligations that the country agreed to while still a member. The Office of Budget Responsibility estimated the total financial settlement to be worth £32.9 billion when the UK left the EU on January 31.
Eurocrats have warned of a vast black hole left in the EU’s budget as a result of the UK’s departure.

And the Telegraph claims the bloc is about to go into the red.

The eurozone is on the brink of sinking into dreaded deflation after clocking up its lowest rise in prices for four years.
Inflation dropped in May to 0.1pc year-on-year, down from 0.3pc, as tumbling energy prices and disappearing demand took their toll. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, held firm at 0.9pc but economists warned pressure on prices will continue to build.
The fourth straight monthly drop in the headline inflation rate will increase the pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to stop the region sliding into deflation – with potentially severe consequences for debts, jobs and living standards.

The BBC’s correspondent also Brussels’ panic in the Express.

BBC’s Brussels correspondent Katya Adler has revealed that Brussels is increasingly alarmed that the entire European economy will collapse after several member states resisted calls to back Ursula von der Leyen’s huge bailout plan.
BBC‘s Brussels correspondent Katya Adler said that the eurozone economy was on the brink of total collapse following the coronavirus devastation. She said that Brussels was unravelling in a panic after several key member-states rejected Ursula von der Leyen‘s unprecedented bailout fund for the European Union.

Lockdown lift

Are our politicians really following ‘the science’?  The Telegraph reports:

Disagreements between scientific advisors and the Government have been laid bare as it emerged that experts warned against the opening of non-essential shops, and schools.
A new tranche of papers released by the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) showed that scientists advised ministers that shops could push the R number above 1.
High-street retailers including fashion, homeware and toy shops have been given the green light to open  from June 15, as long as they take precautions to ensure social distancing.
But a newly released document from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) group warns: “There is limited evidence on the effect of closing of non-essential retail, libraries, bars, restaurants, etc, but it is likely that R would return to above 1 and a subsequent exponential growth in cases.”

Treatment

Another drug is showing promise, says the Times.

A drug that fights rare blood cancers is to be used to treat coronavirus patients in a trial beginning next week.
Scientists are investigating whether ruxolitinib can help Covid-19 patients who are deteriorating. They believe that it could reduce the need for intensive care treatment and save lives in some cases.
People suffering severe effects from Covid-19 can experience a “cytokine storm” in which the immune response goes into overload producing a harmful torrent of the small proteins.

Shielding

Those of us who are shielding are receiving mixed messages, says the Times.

Charities say people shielding from the coronavirus are being put at risk by mixed messages from ministers.
Macmillan Cancer Support, the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK are calling for clear guidance for vulnerable people as lockdown rules are eased.
Some 2.2 million people suffering from conditions such as cancer, asthma and arthritis have been shielding in their homes since lockdown began on March 23.

Sky News also reports the charities’ demands for clarity.

Millions of vulnerable people shielding during the coronavirus outbreak must get more clarity about when their lives can start to return to normal as lockdown across the UK eases, a group of charities has demanded.
Dozens of organisations representing those deemed “clinically vulnerable” and facing harsher rules have urged the government to “be clearer with communication” about announcements affecting them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iNews claims our home-jail will have to continue.

High-risk people who have spent more than two months shielding from coronavirus say they feel “left behind and forgotten about”, after being told their isolation may continue for “several more months”.
Charities supporting some two million vulnerable people said Boris Johnson’s announcement that lockdown measures would be relaxed for the rest of the population have made the most vulnerable “deeply concerned” about the impact an extended period at home will have on their mental and physical health.
The Prime Minister was unable to give a timeframe on when lockdown measures for vulnerable people would be lifted. And they were dealt a further blow on Friday when Environment Secretary George Eustice warned that those shielding from coronavirus may have to continue to do so “for several more months”.

‘R’

But the rate of infection could be a lot less than we thought, says the Mail.

The controversial ‘R’ rate of the coronavirus is far lower than previously revealed, newly released documents show.
Government scientists have refused to break down the reproduction value, known as R0, into separate numbers for the community, hospitals and care homes during the numerous daily press conferences.
But previously secret documents show that in the community as a whole it was much closer to 0.5.

Social distancing

Keeping two metres away from others is being called into question, reports the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson has been urged by senior Conservatives to consider relaxing the two-metre social distancing rule within a fortnight to prevent large-scale redundancies.
Greg Clark, the chairman of the Commons science committee, has written to the Prime Minister asking him to “urgently review” the rule and consider whether a reduction to 1.5 metres may be possible in light of newly available evidence.
Mr Clark said he hoped any change would be implemented before non-essential shops reopen on June 15, pointing out that Mr Johnson had himself expressed hope this week that the distance could be shortened.

And the Mail says the police could take action against those who break the rules.

Britons break social distancing rules while trying to see their families and friends this weekend will be fined, police forces have warned, amid fears that the country could see mass rule-breaking ahead of lockdown restrictions being relaxed on Monday.
With weekend temperatures predicted to reach 80 or even 82F (27 to 28C) in southern England, thousands could pre-empt the change to restrictions set to take effect in two days to gather in parks and beaches across the country.

Schools

Should pupils could go back to classes soon?  The Telegraph reports a former schools minister.

Teaching unions have “got it wrong” on school reopening, a former Labour minister has said, as he accused them of failing to put children at the heart of their plans.
Alan Johnson, who was secretary of state for education and skills in the mid-2000s under Tony Blair, said that teacher unions have been “dancing a war dance” while having a “tin ear” for public opinion.

And teachers are allowed to refuse to go back, says the Independent.

Teachers can stay away when primary schools reopen next week if they believe it is not safe to return, Downing Street has indicated.
The “majority” of schools are expected to open their doors to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils – but  Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said it was up to individual head teachers to arrange staffing.
Asked if teachers are “obliged” to go back on Monday, and if they will be “in breach” of their contracts if they refuse, he indicated there would be no punishment.

The Mail reports on the councils acting against government advice.

Councils are urging schools not to open to more pupils on Monday over fears the NHS Test and Trace system will not be ‘robust enough’ to safely allow an increase in numbers.
Sheffield and Lancashire are among the local authorities to take action after Boris Johnson declared the Government’s five key tests required for easing of the lockdown have been met – and so more children can return to classes.

But most schools will return, says the Times.

Almost every primary school in England is set to reopen on Monday in defiance of the biggest teaching union, The Times has learnt.
Most head teachers will accept fewer children than ministers want, however. The reopening will boost the government, which has spent much of the past week defending Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief aide, who was accused of breaching lockdown rules.

Quarantine

Travellers into the country may not be forced to go into quarantine, says the Mail.

Plans to quarantine travellers coming into Britain were falling apart last night as they came under fire from all sides.
Border Force and police officials say the system is ‘unenforceable’ and MPs, including Boris Johnson’s former adviser, warned the scheme would ‘hang the Closed sign on Britain’.
Those set to enforce the plans are yet to be told how to do so – and there were calls for the evidence that it will work to be made public.
Officials behind the project were accused of ‘making it up as they go along’, while Whitehall sources said travellers would simply be ‘trusted’ to follow the rules.

Travellers will be trusted, says the Sun.

FEARS have been raised Britain’s two-week quarantine for travellers arriving in the country is “unenforceable”.
New arrivals will have to be “trusted” to follow the rules and could get round the restrictions through “loopholes”.
From June 8, anyone arriving in the UK faces a £1,000 fine if they do not self-isolate for two weeks — including holidaymaking Brits coming back to the country.
Ministers say there is a risk of the virus being able to come back into the country once our own coronavirus infection rates have fallen.

Another pandemic

The Mail has a warning that Covid could be overshadowed by another pandemic.

Just when we seem to be easing out of the crisis, just as the death toll slows and new hospital admissions for coronavirus head towards zero, just as we begin to allow ourselves the first tentative sigh of relief, along comes a new book by an American doctor to tell us: this, folks, is just the dress rehearsal.
The real show, the plague in which half of us may well die, is yet to come.
And, if we don’t change our ways, it could be just around the corner. What we are experiencing now may feel bad enough but is, apparently, small beer.

Huawei

Away from Covid, the Telegraph publishes the results of an investigation.

Huawei is facing a fresh row over its influence in the UK, after a Daily Telegraph investigation found that it backed a string of technology projects linking British universities with Chinese universities that are heavily involved in military research.
This newspaper can reveal that the controversial  Chinese telecoms giant funded or co-authored at least 17 scientific papers with UK universities about cutting-edge “dual use” technologies – which can have civilian applications but can also be used in military technology.

US riots

Race riots are spreading across the US.  The Times says:

The white police officer alleged to have killed an unarmed black man in Minneapolis this week by kneeling on his neck — prompting violent protests across the country — was charged with murder yesterday.
Derek Chauvin was arrested on charges of murder and manslaughter, Mike Freeman, the Hennepin county attorney, said. The investigation was continuing regarding the actions of three other officers who were present at the scene. They, like Mr Chauvin, have already been dismissed.
The killing of George Floyd, 46, on Monday was followed by a peaceful protest on Tuesday in Minneapolis, but the gathering quickly turned violent, with thousands of protesters venting their fury against the police in the nights that followed.

ITV News reports that the police officer has been charged.

The Minneapolis officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd has been charged with murder and manslaughter, following widespread protests over his death.
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said state investigators arrested Derek Chauvin, who was one of four officers fired this week, but he did not provide details.

The Sun reports the violence.

PROTESTS over the death of George Floyd have erupted across the US for a fourth night as flag-burning demonstrators forced the White House into lockdown and CNN’s headquarters were ransacked.
Secret Service officials placed the residence on high alert in response to angry crowds gathering in Washington DC to protest the death of the 46-year-old black father in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.

Hong Kong

With residents of the territory being offered the right to come to the UK, China is protesting, says the Times.

China has threatened “countermeasures” in an angry response to proposals that would grant millions of people in the territory new rights to live and work in Britain.
Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, told Beijing that if it pressed ahead with repressive security laws the UK would extend the visa privileges of British national overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong.
There are almost 350,000 BNO passport holders, and 2.6 million people who previously held the document would be allowed to renew it, the Home Office said.

The Independent also reports the invitation to come.

The government has appeared to invite hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents to make UK citizenship bids amid concerns over China’s planned national security law, which critics warn would eviscerate the notion of “one country, two systems”.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would allow the roughly 300,000 people in Hong Kong who hold British national overseas (BNO) passports to stay in the country for 12 months, instead of the current six, unless China scraps the proposed law.

Breitbart also reports the plan for visas.

The British foreign secretary has said that the UK will extend visa rights to Hong Kongers if China implements its proposed ‘security’ law campaigners fear will be used to clamp down on pro-democracy demonstrations in the former British colony.
Any Hong Konger born before 1997, when the territory was handed back to China, is eligible for a British National (Overseas), or BNO, passport. BNO is unique in that while it does not confer British citizenship, it allows the holder to visit the UK visa-free for six months. There are some 300,000 BNO holders in the former colony, but an estimated 2.9 million people are eligible.

The Guardian reports on the numbers being given the opportunity to come to the UK.

The Home Office appears to have dramatically widened the pool of Hong Kong citizens that will be eligible to apply for UK citizenship, implying millions may be able to apply if China presses ahead with plans for draconian new security legislation in the territory.
The UK government’s decision has infuriated the Chinese government, and could risk a backlash among traditional Conservative voters opposed to immigration.

And the US president has stuck his oar in, says the Times.

President Trump accused China of imposing a “one country, one system” rule and “smothering” Hong Kong last night as he vowed to end America’s preferential treatment of the territory.
Speaking the day after China’s National People’s Congress approved the new national security law, the president promised sanctions on Chinese officials, demanded new travel advice warning of the danger of being watched by Chinese security in Hong Kong, and cancelled thousands of Chinese students’ visas.
It is feared that the proposed law could make it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong.

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