Grexit

Several of the media are following the twists and turns of the negotiations to keep Greece within the Eurozone.

The Sunday Times reports:

EUROPE’S finance ministers have tightened the screws on Greece before today’s “final” deadline for a decision on the country’s continued membership of the euro.

An emergency meeting in Brussels ended shortly after midnight with ministers failing to sign off Greece’s latest proposals, which include rises in taxes and cuts in pensions, saying they were only “a basis” for a new deal. The cash-strapped country would have to accept more auster­ity if it wanted access to more than €70bn (£50bn) in fund­ing, they warned.

“The Eurogroup is deeply divided, and Germany and Finland are the leading hardliners,” said a source in the meeting. “General mistrust of the Greek government makes progress very difficult.”

ITV News reports that Greek MPs are backing the new bailout proposals

Greek MPs have backed the proposed government package of economic reforms aimed at ending the country’s crippling debt crisis and securing a new bailout.

The plans include a range of tax hikes, pension reforms and a timetable for privatisations as it asked for 53.5 billion euro to meet its borrowing obligations until June 2018.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to meet this morning in Brussels to decide on Athens’ request for help from their European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

But Breitbart claims there are ‘serious doubts’ about the proposals.

Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Saturday have serious doubts about Greece’s request for a bailout and a deal to start negotiating on the basis of Athens’ proposals is far from certain, sources close to the talks said.

Overnight, the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund gave a positive assessment of the cash-for-reforms plan put forward on Thursday by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, according to EU officials.

France, Greece’s most powerful ally in the Eurogroup of finance minister, also welcomed the proposals on Friday, raising expectations that ministers would agree to open negotiations over the weekend. That could avert bankruptcy and prevent Greece running out of euros and falling out of the currency bloc.

But Germany and other governments have remained sceptical and two euro zone sources said on Saturday that the demands for new financing from Athens had alarmed some Eurogroup members.

One source, who told Reuters that he was almost certain late on Friday that a deal would be agreed on Saturday, said he was now not so sure, four hours before ministers meet at 1300 GMT.

The Guardian claims the talks have broken down.

Greece’s final attempt to avoid being kicked out of the euro by securing a new three-year bailout worth up to €80bn ran into a wall of resistance from the eurozone’s fiscal hawks on Saturday.

Finland rejected any more funding for the country and Germany called for Greece to be turfed out of the currency bloc for at least five years.

The last-chance talks between the 19 eurozone finance ministers in Brussels ended at midnight, as they struggled to draft a policy paper for national leaders at yet another emergency summit on Sunday that was billed as the decisive meeting.

With Greece on the edge of financial and social implosion, eurozone finance ministers met to decide on the country’s fate and on what to do about its debt crisis, after experts from the troika of creditors said that new fiscal rigour proposals from Athens were good enough to form “the basis for negotiations”.

But the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, dismissed that view, supported by a number of northern and eastern European states. “These proposals cannot build the basis for a completely new, three-year [bailout] programme, as requested by Greece,” said a German finance ministry paper. It called for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone for a minimum of five years and demanded that the Greek government transfer €50bn of state assets to an outside agency for sell-off.

And the Independent reports along the same lines.

European finance ministers failed to agree on a Greek bailout deal late Saturday after more than nine-hours of negotiations.

With Athens on the brink of bankruptcy, finance ministers meeting in Brussels raised serious question marks over fresh Greek plans to persuade its international creditors it can be trusted to bring in promised reforms they believe are necessary to avoid financial collapse. Talks will resume on Sunday morning.

A positive assessment of new Greek proposals from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund late on Friday, along with public words of support from France, a key ally of Athens, raised expectations that the Eurogroup would approve the bailout.

The BBC claims the talks will resume today.

Nine hours of talks on Saturday ended without agreement and Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem described negotiations as “very difficult”.

Ministers have expressed scepticism Greece will implement the austerity measures it has proposed.

They have little time to produce a working plan ready for European leaders who meet in Brussels later on Sunday.

“We have had an in-depth discussion of the Greek proposals, the issue of credibility and trust was discussed and also of course financial issues involved, but we haven’t concluded our discussions,” Mr Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup of finance ministers, told reporters as the earlier round of talks broke up.

“It is still very difficult but work is in progress.”

Talks are due to resume at 09:00 GMT.

Labour leadership

Sky News reports that 50,000 Unite members have registered to vote.

The leader of the Unite union says that 50,000 members have signed up to vote in the Labour leadership ballot.

Len McCluskey made the announcement sharing a stage with the union’s favoured candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, at the Durham Miners’ Gala.

Unite came out in support of Mr Corbyn last week in a move the veteran, left-wing MP said “shows we are serious”.

The Telegraph claims Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is moving up in the race.

A left-wing Labour MP has surged into second place as the activist’s choice for party leader.

Jeremy Corbyn, who is backed by the unions, is increasingly seen as a major player after pulling into second behind Andy Burnham.

The increasing support for Mr Corbyn will fuel speculation that he will have to be offered a shadow cabinet role by whoever wins.

The latest returns from constituency Labour Party branches show that Mr Corbyn has the support of 28 constituencies, just behind Mr Burnham who has the support of 33.

He is now ahead of Yvette Cooper, the shadow health secretary, while Liz Kendall, the Blairite shadow health minister, has the support of just four branches.

Mr Corbyn, whose priorities include the introduction of a Soviet-style “planned economy”, was only included in the race at he last minute after MPs decided there should be a “broad debate”.

Even a third of the MPs who nominated him made clear that they did not support him, with most assuming that he would finish last.

However his popularity among activists could now prove decisive in the contest to succeed Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader.

Labour MPs said privately that his surprise success was a “disaster” for the party which will “now be stuck with him”.

Mr Corbyn is calling for an end to all cuts, unilateral nuclear disarmament, open door imigration and the formation of a united Ireland.

He is an ardent republican and once petitioned Tony Blair, the former Labour leader, to evict he Royal Family from Buckingham Palace.

The result of leadership contest, which will be decided on a one member, one vote basis, is due to be announced in September.

Breitbart has the same story.

Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran hard-left MP and union favourite, has shot into second place in the race to become the new Labour leader. Even if he loses now, he is increasingly likely to be granted a seat in the party’s Shadow Cabinet, raising the possibility he could serve in a future Labour government.

Corbyn was a surprise addition to the candidacy list, only securing the required 35 nominations to stand minutes before the deadline. He now has the backing of 28 local Labour branches – just behind favourite Andy Burnham who is on 33. Yvette Cooper has the support of 24, and Liz Kendall is trailing on just 4.

He has already secured the backing of Unite and other unions. Ed Miliband abolished the union’s block voting rights which won him the leadership, but it has been confirmed by The Guardian that about 30,000 Unite members have signed up as registered party supporters – making them eligible to vote in the contest – which could help Corbyn.

Corbyn once called on Tony Blair to “evict” the royal family from Buckingham Palace and his policies include ending all spending cuts, the introduction of a Soviet-style “planned economy,” support for full nuclear disarmament, a “united Ireland” and open door immigration.

The West Lothian question

Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon has rejected the plans for English votes for English laws, says Sky News.

Scotland’s First Minister has written to the UK Government about “unacceptable” plans to implement English votes for English laws (EVEL).

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded Westminster fully engages with the Scottish Government over the proposals, saying there is a “clear Scottish interest” in the plans.

In her letter to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the SNP leader called for greater clarity over the way Bills would be assessed as applying, or not applying, to Scotland.

And she called for a meeting with Mr Mundell and Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, to discuss the proposals.

MPs, led by Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, last week staged an emergency debate on the plans, protesting that they would mean effectively an English Parliament within the ranks of the Commons – creating two tiers of MPs.

The BBC has the same story.

In a letter to Conservative ministers she called for more talks, saying the Scottish government had “a number of concerns about the proposals”.

Last week MPs staged an emergency debate to discuss the plans.

The government later promised a redraft and postponed a Commons vote on the issue until at least September.

In her letter to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Mrs Sturgeon said: “There is a clear Scottish interest in English votes for English laws (Evel) because of the impact it will have, and the proposals, as they currently stand, are unacceptable.”

She called for greater clarity over the way bills would be assessed as applying, or not applying, to Scotland.

“Of the 20 Bills listed by the UK government as not extending to Scotland, no fewer than 13 of them did,” she said.

“Several of these bills covered important areas such as charities, criminal justice and anti-slavery measures and had significant impacts on Scotland.”

EU

The Express highlights a new report which shows that Britain gets just 49p for every £1 paid to Brussels, and this could reduce even more

BRITAIN receives just 49p of every £1 paid to the European Union, a damning new report has revealed.

It claims Britain’s influence in the EU is declining and said the UK must leave the union unless fundamental reforms were secured.

The average return from 1973 to 2013 has been 68% – meaning the UK has received about 68p in grants and rebates for every £1 it has pain in.

But this has dropped to less than half since the eurozone crisis began in 2009.

The report has been written by senior business figures including Jon Moynihan, the former chief executive of PA Consulting Group, and John Mills, who founded JML.

It reads: “Leaving the EU would give the UK a major opportunity to make substantial savings.

“From a financial perspective, the UK, as a long-term net contributor to the Union, would lose little from leaving the EU and would have much to gain.

Secret trials

The Mail claims 3,000 trials have been held in ‘secret’ under new fast-track money-saving scheme which ends centuries of open justice.

Thousands of criminal court cases are being held behind closed doors under a new fast-track scheme that ends centuries of open justice.

For the first time, details of cases are not being read out in an open court, and there is no bench made up of magistrates, no lawyers, no defendant and no access for the press or public.

The introduction of the Single Justice Procedure (SJP) by the Ministry of Justice is the result of a little-noticed provision in a law passed earlier this year.

Under the SJP, a single lay judge reads the background papers and passes sentence while sitting in private with a legal adviser.

In the past few weeks, about 3,000 cases have been dealt with by dispensing with the need for traditional hearings.

Ministers say the move will save time and money.

Officials insist the procedure can be used only when the offender pleads guilty to a minor offence, and it is simply a way to deal with straightforward cases quickly and effectively.

It cannot be used for crimes where there is the possibility of a jail sentence, while cases can be held in public if the defendant so wishes.

Mini ice age

The Telegraph claims that Earth is heading for a ‘mini ice age’ within 15 years

The earth is 15 years from a “mini ice-age” that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over, scientists have predicted.

Solar researchers at the University of Northumbria have created a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”.

They said fluid movements within the sun, which are thought to create 11-year cycles in the weather, will converge in such a way that temperatures will fall dramatically in the 2030s.

Solar activity will fall by 60 per cent as two waves of fluid “effectively cancel each other out”, according to Prof Valentina Zharkova.

In a presentation to the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, she said the result would be similar to freezing conditions of the late 17th century.

“[In the cycle between 2030 and around 2040] the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the sun,” she said.

“Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other.

“We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum'”.

Maunder minimum, indicating low sunspot activity, was the name given to the period between 1645 and 1715, when Europe and North America experienced very cold winters.

This story is picked up by the Independent.

There will be a “mini ice age” in 2030, solar scientists have said.

We are now able to predict solar cycles with far greater accuracy than ever before thanks to a new model which shows irregularities in the sun’s 11-year heartbeat.

The model shows that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent between 2030 and 2040 causing a “mini ice age”.

The conditions predicted have not been experienced since the last “mini ice age” which lasted from 1645 to 1715, called the Maunder Minimum.

The findings are being presented by Professor Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

In 1843 scientists first discovered that the sun’s activity varies over a cycle of 10 to 12 years.

Fluctuations within that cycle have been difficult to predict, although many solar physicists new that the variations were caused by a dynamo of moving fluid deep inside the sun.

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