Brexit

The Great Repeal Bill is reported by several of the newspapers. The Telegraph says:

Four different versions of the law giving Theresa May the power to start Brexit have already been prepared as ministers brace themselves for Supreme Court defeat this week.
Drafts have been circulating in an attempt to make sure the Government is ready for every eventuality when the 11 Supreme Court judges announce their ruling on Tuesday.
The Acts of Parliament have been kept as short as possible to make sure Mrs May is given the power to trigger Article 50 as soon as possible if needed.
They range from a “belt and braces” law that will make explicit that Britain is leaving more than a dozen EU agencies – such as Euratom, which controls the nuclear energy market – to the simplest wording possible.

The newest anti-EU website Westmonster also carries the story.

Four draft bills are reported to be sat on the Prime Minister’s desk right now, as her closest aides tell her she will lose her battle with the Supreme Court on whether or not she has the legal authority to trigger article 50 by herself.
The case was brought by hedge fund manager, Gina Miller, and proved to be an expensive waste of everybody’s time as MPs voted hugely in favour of our withdrawal process from the EU being triggered by the end of March.
The draft bills are said to range from a simple one line bill to a more complex document which details withdrawing us from the separate EU institutions, according to the Mail.
This attempt to frustrate the process would never have happened if David Cameron had triggered Article 50 on June 24
th like we wanted, and he promised to.

The Mail claims the Prime Minister is getting ready for the Bill.

Theresa May is preparing to present a bill to parliament that would allow her to begin Brexit.
Ministers expect the Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject the government’s appeal against the High Court ruling that MPs must vote before Article 50 can be triggered.
This will mean the government will not have the power to begin Brexit without consulting parliament so will need to pass a law giving permission.
Four draft versions of this bill are being prepared and which one is presented will depend on what the 11 judges of the Supreme Court say on Tuesday.

The Guardian is one of the papers reporting on continuing plans to stop Brexit.

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is plotting to thwart Theresa May’s attempts to drive through a hard Brexit amid rising fears that UK businesses could soon have to pay huge export tariffs on goods they sell to the EU.
The Labour, Lib Dem, Green and some pro-EU Tory MPs say May has no mandate for the “extreme Brexit” options speech she made last Tuesday – including the adoption of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs if the UK cannot strike a free-trade deal with the EU within two years. They are now co-operating to try to prevent this.
News of cross-party talks comes as MPs prepare for a verdict on Tuesday from the supreme court on whether ministers or parliament have the legal authority to trigger Brexit. If the 11 justices say the issue should be voted on in parliament, the MPs say they will seek to amend the legislation to make an extreme Brexit option impossible.

And the Independent claims Labour will fight the PM’s plans if it contains certain clauses.

Labour will not back a vital piece of Theresa May’s Brexit legislation if it contains sweeping powers allowing ministers to scrap vital workers’ rights, human rights and environmental provisions.
The expected move by the Government would render Parliament almost powerless to stop Tory ministers in post-Brexit Britain from dumping rights previously enshrined in EU law.
In an exclusive interview with
The Independent, Sir Keir Starmer also revealed how his party would try force the Government to give Parliament more control over Ms May’s Brexit negotiations.
He went on to admit that Labour is still debating just how to respond to the underlying issues raised by the shock vote to quit the EU, and the full implications it has for immigration policy.

And the former LibDem leader is also joining the fight against Brexit, says the Express.

NICK Clegg is among a group of powerful cross-party MPs plotting yet another attempt to block Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans, amid fears that leaving the single-market would “sail the UK economy onto the rocks”.
Labour, Lib Dem, Green and some pro-EU Tory MPs have expressed concerns British businesses would be forced pay huge export tariffs on the goods they sell to the EU.
Clegg, who has been talking to MPs from other parties said: “Because the situation is so serious, we are condemned to work together on amendments that we can all support.”
The heightened fears of a May’s hard Brexit were confirmed when 43 Labour MP’s launched their own tirade against their leader Jeremy Corbyn, for his refusal to take a tougher stance against the Tory leader’s plans.

It seems that multi-millionaire Richard Branson is trying to reverse the referendum result, says the Express.

VIRGIN boss Richard Branson is launching a group to reverse Brexit on the same day Theresa May triggers Article 50.
The Virgin chief, who has openly called for a second referendum because “Britain is heading for a disaster”, has sent one of his top business allies to front-up the anti-Brexit collective.
Mr Branson, who is based in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, has reportedly given an office and £25,000 to the as yet unnamed group.
The Europhiles are keen to rock the Brexit boat as much as possible by timing their group’s launch to coincide with Theresa May enacting Article 50.

Westmonster also carries the story of the Virgin boss.

Virgin billionaire Richard Branson is attempting to start a pathetic counter-offensive against British national independence, providing office space and thousands of pounds to a new group spearheaded by the Chairman of Virgin and a has-been New Labour stooge.
Delusional Branson still claims that “the referendum was just an advisory referendum. Once the people see the terms and the consequences of what’s happening, things could change.”
Unfortunately for Branson, recent polling shows that Brits overwhelmingly support a clean break from the EU as months of economic data since June’s vote have exposed the same economic scares he is now trying to revive.

Education

In other news, the PM is hoping to improve our youngsters’ education, says the Telegraph.

Theresa May will announce a drive to create a specialist maths school in every British city on Monday to ensure the country “stands tall in the world” after Brexit.
A £170 million package to establish “Institutes of Technology” will also be announced in the government’s long-awaited industrial strategy.
It seeks to address Britain’s low productivity compared to other developed countries, something which Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has prioritised.
The strategy will also aim to put technical training on an equal footing to academic higher education – something ministers have targetted for years.

The Guardian reports May’s intention to tell business leaders of her education plans.

Theresa May will move on Monday to reassure business leaders that they will not suffer skills shortages as a result of Brexit, when she places expansion of vocational education at the heart of a new proactive industrial strategy. Many businesses worry that the UK’s departure from the single market will not only damage their trade with Europe but will also make it more difficult to attract enough suitable workers.
Before Christmas, the Institute of Directors called on May to address the issue of skills shortages before Brexit and, as a first move, to guarantee the rights of more than 2.5 million EU citizens working in this country, to remain permanently. Some 40% of companies mentioned skill shortages as having a negative effect on how they viewed their prospects.

Trident

We are learning about a rogue nuclear missile several months after it had a problem, says the Times

A serious malfunction in Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons deterrent was covered up by Downing Street just weeks before the crucial House of Commons vote on the future of the missile system.
The Sunday Times can reveal that a Trident II D5 missile — which can kill millions when armed with nuclear warheads — experienced an alarming failure after being launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June last year.
It was the only firing test of a British nuclear missile in four years and raises serious questions about the reliability and safety of the weapons system. The failure prompted a news blackout by Downing Street that has remained in place until this weekend.

Sky News also has the story.

Downing Street is being accused of a cover-up after a malfunction in Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons deterrent in a test just weeks before a crucial House of Commons vote.
The Sunday Times reports that a Trident II D5 missile experienced a failure after being launched from the British submarine HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in June last year.
MPs are now demanding an inquiry and are calling for a Commons statement from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on Monday.
The cause of the failure remains secret, but a naval source told The Sunday Times that the missile – which was unarmed for the test – may have veered off in the wrong direction towards America.

And BBC News claims the missile was heading towards the US.

The Ministry of Defence says it has “absolute confidence” in the UK’s nuclear weapons system despite reports of a malfunction during a test.
The Sunday Times says an unarmed Trident missile fired from submarine HMS Vengeance near the Florida coast in June veered off course towards the US.
The paper says the incident took place weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of Trident.
The MoD did not give details of the test process but said it was a success.
In July, MPs backed the renewal of Trident by 472 votes to 117, approving the manufacture of four replacement submarines at a current estimated cost of £31bn.

By-elections

It seems the Labour Party is worried about the result of the forthcoming by-elections, says the Sun

SENIOR Labour figures fear their party will come fourth in the crucial Copeland by-election next month.
The disaster prediction came as Jeremy Corbyn was snubbed over his choice for the poll’s candidate.
In an embarrassment for the under fire Opposition Leader, his preferred pick for the poll next month was rejected.
Party members in the Cumbria constituency instead opted for local councillor and former doctor Gillian Troughton on Thursday night, instead of Corbyn-backing union activist Rachel Holliday.
But in what would be a far bigger blow, fears are now growing among party grandees that it could even finish finish behind the Tories, UKIP and the Lib Dems.

Trump

In what it trumpets as an exclusive, the Telegraph reports that Mrs May will be one of the first leaders to visit the new US President.

Donald Trump is planning a new deal for Britain this week as Theresa May becomes the first foreign leader to meet him since the inauguration.
With hundreds of thousands of people across the world protesting his presidency, Mr Trump’s team was working with Number 10 to finalise plans for White House talks.
Mr Trump has even taken to calling Mrs May “my Maggie” in reference to the close Thatcher-Reagan relationship he wants to recreate, according to sources.

But the Mail claims Trump should be a little wary.

Theresa May is ready to use her White House summit with Donald Trump to tell him to stop insulting women.
The Prime Minister will meet the new US President on Thursday in a speedy bid to secure a lucrative post-Brexit trade deal with America.
The summit is a massive diplomatic coup for Mrs May, who is expected to be the first major world leader to meet Mr Trump since his inauguration. But she has made it clear she will not shrink from challenging his offensive remarks about women and race.
Yesterday, Mr Trump’s first day in office was marked by worldwide protests against his attitude to women.

EU

The Express claims a right-wing victory in this year’s French elections could signal the end of the EU.

FRENCH far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen declared Britain’s vote to leave the European Union would have a domino effect across the bloc.
Le Pen, head of the anti-EU, anti-immigrant National Front (FN) and seen by pollsters as highly likely to make a two-person runoff vote in May, has marked out Europe as a major plank in her programme with broadsides at the EU and the euro currency.
Speaking at a gathering of far-right leaders from Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands in the German city of Koblenz one day after US President Donald Trump took office, she said: “2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. I am sure 2017 will be the year the people of continental Europe wake up.”
Loud applause from the room of hundreds of supporters followed.

Sky News also reports on the French elections.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right Front National party, has said the Brexit vote has set off a domino effect that “will bring down all of Europe”.
She said the British and Americans had pulled off “coups” in 2016 and predicted that 2017 would be the “year the people of continental Europe woke up”.
Ms Le Pen is seen as highly likely to make the run-off for the French presidency in May, while the right-wing nationalist party, Alternative for Germany, is expected to make significant gains at the election there in September.
Speaking at a meeting of nationalist leaders from major European countries in the German city of Koblenz, Ms Le Pen said the EU was a “system of oppression” and added: “We are experiencing the end of one world and the birth of another.”

And Breitbart reports a claim by Marine Le Pen that this year the people of the continent will ‘awaken’.

French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen declared Saturday that 2017 will be the “year of the awakening of the people of continental Europe” as she joined fellow nationalist leaders in Germany at the beginning of a year of high-stakes national elections.
The mood was celebratory a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as U.S. president, following a campaign buoyed by anti-establishment and protectionist themes.
“Yesterday, a new America. Today, hello Koblenz, a new Europe!” Dutch anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders said as he opened his speech at a congress center on the banks of the Rhine river, under heavy security.
“The people of the west are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness,” he said. “This year will be the year of the people … the year of liberation, the year of the patriotic spring.”

Westmonster reports that many asylum seekers who have not been given permission to remain in Germany have set off for Paris.

In what is set to become one of the defining topics of the French Presidential Election, politicians are having to come to terms with a new problem: How many migrants that have had their asylum applications rejected in Germany, will try their luck in France?
The city is already struggling to cope with the migrants that were relocated from Calais and according to newly released information, up to 100 people per day are arriving in Paris.
The City’s Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has angered locals by building migrant centres in affluent areas of Paris.

It seems the German Chancellor will attempt to get along with the new EU president, says the Times

Angela Merkel vowed yesterday to seek compromises with Donald Trump as politicians and commentators across Europe reacted to his inauguration speech with a mixture of concern and outrage.
“He made his convictions clear,” the German chancellor said of the new US leader. “I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances.”
Merkel was reported yesterday to be poring over old interviews and videos of Trump for clues as to how he has formed his views.

And EU bosses are worried about the date our Prime Minister will start the process of the UK’s departure, says the Express

EU OFFICIALS are terrified Britain will trigger Article 50 on the same date as the 60th anniversary of an agreement which helped launch the European Union, according to reports.
Brussels bureaucrats have reportedly contacted Government ministers, pleading that Theresa May does not pick March 25 – the day the Treaty of Rome was signed – to kick start the Brexit process.
The agreement, signed on that date in 1957, kick started the European Economic Community, and is credited with being one of the foundations on which the European Union was built.
Italian diplomats are now preparing to celebrate “the most remarkable historical moments of the integration in the European history” – with some using the anniversary as a bid to “relaunch the European project”.
But gushing Eurocrats are trembling over the prospect that Brexit – seen by many as the first domino in the destruction of the crumbling bloc – could overshadow the event.

In one of the first of his decrees, the new US president has warned the EU to stop its plans for a continental army says the Express.

PRESIDENT TRUMP will demand Brussels abandons plans for an EU Army if it wants the US is to continue its support for Nato.
Senior British officers serving at the Pentagon have been briefed that one of the new administration’s top priorities will be to “sweep away” plans championed by Germany and France.
”We have been told quite clearly that, in an environment in which the political temperature in Eastern Europe is high and fiscal pressure on budgets is increasing, there can only be one joint force and that is Nato,” he said.
“Senior US officers directing future strategy want to see more delivery from European nations. There is grave concern about the intent and growing talk of an EU Army, which appears to draw resources away from the Alliance.”

In a conciliatory tone, a member of Germany’s government has indicated the bloc will play ball with the UK on Brexit, says the Times.

Theresa May’s demands for a post-Brexit relationship with Europe have been welcomed by one of the rising stars in the German government.
Jens Spahn, the deputy finance minister and a high-flyer in Angela Merkel’s party, said May’s speech last week was a good basis for a “compromise” despite opposition from Brussels.
Spahn, whose department will play a key role in negotiations, accepted the possibility that Britain could agree terms on a deal giving it some access to the European Union customs union while retaining the ability to negotiate independent trade deals with third countries.
“Compromises are possible,” he told The Sunday Times.
“We can and must talk. We can fine-tune things, we can devise new solutions.”

Australia

The Independent reports a comment from a top Aussie that immigration from that country will have to be relaxed in exchange for a trade deal.

The UK has been told it will have to relax its immigration rules for Australians if it wants a free trade deal with Canberra.
Alexander Downer, Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, said the country would want better access for business people working in the UK before reaching a post-Brexit deal.
He said it might be possible to strike a deal within eight months of Brexit.
Preliminary moves over a possible agreement had been made, he added.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has already said she will begin talks to strike a trade deal with New Zealand in the coming months.
Mr Downer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Australia’s access for businesses had often been a part of its free trade negotiations.
“It might just make it a bit simpler actually,” he said.

The Independent has a similar story.

Britain must relax immigration rules for Australians if it wants to strike a free trade deal with the country after Brexit, Australia’s high commissioner to the UK has said.
Alexander Downer, a former Australian Liberal Party politician and now high commissioner in London, said Canberra would seek “greater access” for businesspeople before reaching a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK.
He also suggested that the UK should establish an “easier” system for Australian workers to obtain visas.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s
Today programme, Mr Downer said: “We would want to see greater access for Australian businesspeople working in the UK and that’s often been a part of free-trade negotiations – it hasn’t always been by the way, but it’s often been part of our free-trade negotiations.

ITV News has the same story.

Britain will have to relax immigration rules for Australians if it wants a free trade deal, its high commissioner to London has said.
Alexander Downer said Australia would seek better access before reaching a
post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK.
Theresa May has made clear that she wants to reform the UK’s relationship with the EU customs union so it can agree trade deals with countries from around the world after Brexit.
Australia is ready to reach a deal with Britain and it may take on more urgency given United States president Donald Trump’s wish to pursue an “America first” strategy, raising doubts about a potential UK-US agreement.

Climate change

The Prince of Wales has commented on global warming, says the Mail

Television weather forecasts should make it clear that global warming is partly to blame for floods and heatwaves, Prince Charles argues today.
The eye-catching proposal is part of a new crusade by the Prince to tackle climate change before the world faces ‘destruction’. He says it is vital to make more people aware of the threat to the planet.
And he says using weather forecasts to draw attention to the link between extreme weather and climate change is one way of doing so.
‘We might be more inclined to think about the longer term if we were more aware of what is happening around us,’ he writes in today’s Mail on Sunday. ‘Perhaps daily weather forecasts could include a few basic facts about the Earth’s vital signs, or details of where climate change is increasing the likelihood of damaging weather?’

Earthquake

The Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ is shifting, says the Express.

A HUGE 8.0 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea, in the Ring of Fire region, sparking tsunami fears.
The tremor happened 29 miles west of the Arawa, on Bougainville island, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an advisory that “widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible” as a result of the earthquake for the next three hours along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
The monumental quake was close to the islands of New Britain, New Ireland and New West Britain.
It comes just a week after a huge 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit anothr Pacific Island Fiji.

The Star also reports the earthquake.

A HUGE 8.0 magnitude earthquake has struck an island of Papua New Guinea, sparking fears of a tsunami.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says “widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible” as a result of the earthquake for the next three hours along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Initial reports by the centre initially listed Nauru, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Vanuatu, Chuuk and Indonesia as being at risk of a tsunami, but they later revised their advice.
The quake hit Bougainville Island, in Papua New Guinea with seismic waves sent out as far as New Britain province.

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