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HuffPost UK - Athena2 - All Entries (Public)
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    A senior Tory MP has said some of his colleagues have become “unhinged” amid the “general hysteria” over Brexit. Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who opposed Brexit before the referendum, was among those labelled a “mutineer” on the front page of The Telegraph this week for preparing to vote against a government amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would see the UK’s Brexit date enshrined in law. Anna Soubry, one of the MPs pictured labelled it “bullying” and later said she had received threats after it was published. Grieve said he did not oppose Brexit but he and others in the party were seeking “sensible compromises” with amendments to the bill. “Instead of having a rational debate, they’re denounced as traitors, mutineers, whatever it is,” Grieve said. “We can try to improve the legislation... What’s been curious about this process is that we’re living in such a hysterical atmosphere over Brexit, the moment you try to do this, it’s alleged against you you are trying to undermine Brexit,” he told John Pienaar on BBC Five Live on Sunday. “I do sometimes think that some of my colleagues have become unhinged actually.” He added he was not including the prime minister. “This is all part of the general hysteria which seems to be developing around Brexit.” He also said the Government’s attempt to write the date of Brexit in March 2019 was “a completely goofy amendment”, adding it “could prevent us achieving the best possible Brexit by bringing down the guillotine”. “My feeling is the government does not have a majority to get this through the House of Commons,” he said. “We’re providing extraordinary powers to government... to change the law by ministerial decree.”

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    Zimbabwe’s ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader and given him until 12pm on Monday to resign or face impeachment.

    While he still refuses to step aside as president, the removal of him as head of the ruling Zanu-PF puts the end of his 37-rule in the country closer.

    Delegates danced and sang at a party meeting when Mugabe was removed, a move to force a peaceful end to his 37 years in power following a de facto military coup.

    Robert Mugabe at a university graduation ceremony on Friday

    He was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, Reuters reported.

    Mnangagwa’s dismissal is what prompted the military to move against Mugabe, amid fears he would appoint his wife Grace to succeed him.

    She was also expelled from the party.

    Speaking before the meeting, Chris Mutsvangwa, a leader of influential group of war veterans, said the 93-year-old Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.

    Protesters calling for Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare on Saturday

    “He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” he said.

    Mutsvangwa followed up with threat to call for street protests if Mugabe refused to go, telling reporters: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”

    Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall.

    On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow.

    His stunning downfall in just four days is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to quit.


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    Philip Hammond’s pre-budget media round didn’t quite go according to plan.

    While extolling the virtues of the UK’s ascendance from some turbulent economic times, the chancellor made the bold claim that “there are no unemployed people” in the UK.

    He was quickly corrected on Twitter by literally everyone - there are in fact more than 1.4 million out of work - and quickly moved to clarify that he simply meant unemployment was at a record low, and that embracing new technologies would not put people out of a job.

    Elsewhere, Brexit mutineer-in-chief Dominic Grieve described his colleagues as “unhinged”, John McDonnell said people are still living in a recession and Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg crafted his own alternative budget.

    Another quiet Sunday in politics, then.

    The Andrew Marr Show

    John McDonnell was the first in the hot seat and was quick to point out Labour is closing in on the Tories on economic credibility. 

    This time last year, Jeremy Corbyn’s party were 28 points behind their rivals in opinion polls on that specific issue - and that gap has narrowed considerably. 

    McDonnell said Labour wants to plough £250bn of investment into public services over the next 10 years - around £25bn a year - and that those levels are necessary in order for the UK to keep up with its international counterparts.

    The shadow chancellor said many people still feel they are living in a recession and that “gross inequality” remains in UK society.

    “We have had people whose wages have been cut by 10% - nurses for example,” he added.

    “For the first time we have people of all generations saying for the next generation it will be worse off for them.  Young people these days can’t expect even the same living standards of their parents.”

    But he was unable to spell out the concrete cost of his party’s economic plans.

    On Brexit, McDonnell told the programme bringing back a hard border in Ireland would be “a nightmare”.

    “I would not want to see anything that undermines the peace process,” he said.

    Northern Ireland’s future is one of the key issues that must be negotiated upon with the EU before talks can move on to trading relationships.

    Philip Hammond, who was next up, agreed with his opposite number.

    He said: “Everybody wants to avoid a hard border in Ireland and we are clear it will not be us creating hard infrastructure.”

    Hammond said the UK had “had a difficult year”, but he believed the government was “now on the brink of making some serious movement forward with our negotiations with EU”.

    Unfortunately for the chancellor, his unemployment gaffe dominated the interview.

    When pulled up on his error, he quickly clarified that he had in fact been talking about unemployment levels being at a record low.

    Moving to budget-related matters, it seemed apparent NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens will not be getting the extra £4bn he asked for, despite his assertion it was essential for the health service to reach its waiting time targets. 

    Hammond said the government would deal with pressures on the NHS in “a sensible, measured way”.

    “In the run-up to budget lots of people come to see us with very large numbers that are absolutely essential, otherwise Armageddon will arrive,” he added.

    “I don’t contest for one moment that the NHS is under pressure.  We will work with them and seek to address those pressure points.”

    The chancellor set out plans to pave the way for the building of 300,000 new homes a year.

    He said it was “not acceptable” that many people were unable to afford their own home - but warned there was no “silver bullet” that would solve the housing crisis.

    Hammond also wants the UK to be “at the forefront of the next industrial revolution” and embrace new technologies - revealing he will be going for a spin in a driverless car on Monday.

    “I want to see fully driverless cars on the road in the UK by 2021,” he said. 

    “I believe we have to embrace these technologies and take up challenges if we want to see Britain lead the next industrial revolution.  We have got to build industries that will create high paid jobs of the future. 

    “Either we embrace change and put ourselves at the forefront, or we hide from it and slip behind.”

    Peston On Sunday

    One-time Labour leadership hopeful David Miliband is paying a brief visit to the political airwaves to promote his new book. 

    The former foreign secretary, who is now president of the International Rescue Committee, said he believes the UK has a “moral duty” to deal with the plight of refugees.

    Miliband said Europe has changed since the UK voted to leave the union, and at the time of the referendum there was “very little flesh on the bones about exactly what Brexit meant”.

    Philip Hammond did the double, also appearing on Peston to talk further about his budget on Wednesday.

    Reiterating plans for more housebuilding as part of a “balanced budget”, the Chancellor then proceeded to get a bit Game of Thrones, promising the UK would “pay what we owe” as part of Brexit negotiations. 

    “We should negotiate hard to get the very best deal we can.  In the end if we owe something, we will pay it.  That’s the kind of country we are,” he added.

    Pienaar’s Politics

    Things got a bit lively on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sunday morning show, with Brexit-sceptic Dominic Grieve telling John Pienaar he believes some of his colleagues have become “unhinged”.

    The former attorney general, who was named among the Telegraph’s ‘Brexit mutineers’ last week, was swift to point out he didn’t mean Theresa May, but said the government’s plans to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill were “completely goofy”.

    Sunday With Paterson 

    Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth joined Sky’s Niall Paterson to question Philip Hammond’s decision not to give more cash to the NHS, given skyrocketing waiting times for treatment. 

    ″I’ve heard Philip Hammon being interviewed this morning and he’s been dismissive of the calls for more money,” the Leicester MP said.

    “This is happening now, today, and if he doesn’t realise that he is completely out of touch.”

    Beyond the M25, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he was worried about a “London-centric” approach to Brexit, with no regard being paid to the UK’s regions, and said politicians outside of Westminster needed a seat at the negotiating table.

    “I’m worried that we will get the same old story, where the government protects the city of London ahead of all other industries,” he added.

    And Treasury select committee member Stephen Hammond - another of the Brexit mutineers - described the Telegraph’s front page headline as “pretty silly”.

    “I’ve never voted against my party in my life,” the Conservative MP said.

    “What we are going through is a normal Parliamentary process.”

    BBC Sunday Politics 

    The two Bs - Brexit and the budget - were high on the agenda on this week’s show.

    Tory backbencher and grassroots darling Jacob Rees-Mogg revealed he had written his own alternative budget proposals (because, hey, who hasn’t?), but claimed he had “the greatest confidence” in the chancellor.

    The keen Brexit cheerleader also said the government should make good on Vote Leave’s promise of £350 million a week for the NHS.

    “Politicians have to recongise that voters do not look at small print,” he said. 

    “If you put £350 million on the side of the bus, people do not notice the ’may’ - and nor should they.

    “It is very important that promise is delivered on.”

    However, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said he didn’t believe the UK’s exit from the EU would actually happen.

    In a head-to-head with Labour Leave supporter and former MP Gisela Stuart, he said: “I accept the result of the referendum, but I do not think we are necessarily going to leave.  The public is entitled to change its mind and I think it will change its mind.”

    Not enough politics for one day? Listen to our CommonsPeople podcast as we chew the fat over the Brexit ‘mutineers’, Universal Credit ways out for ministers and preview the budget.

    Click HERE to listen on iTunes/iPhone or HERE on Audioboom/Android.


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    Philip Hammond’s pre-budget media round didn’t quite go according to plan. While extolling the virtues of the UK’s ascendance from some turbulent economic times, the chancellor made the bold claim that “there are no unemployed people” in the UK. He was quickly corrected on Twitter by literally everyone - there are in fact more than 1.4 million out of work - and quickly moved to clarify that he simply meant unemployment was at a record low, and that embracing new technologies would not put people out of a job. Elsewhere, Brexit mutineer-in-chief Dominic Grieve described his colleagues as “unhinged”, John McDonnell said people are still living in a recession and Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg crafted his own alternative budget. Another quiet Sunday in politics, then. The Andrew Marr Show John McDonnell was the first in the hot seat and was quick to point out Labour is closing in on the Tories on economic credibility. This time last year, Jeremy Corbyn’s party were 28 points behind their rivals in opinion polls on that specific issue - and that gap has narrowed considerably. McDonnell said Labour wants to plough £250bn of investment into public services over the next 10 years - around £25bn a year - and that those levels are necessary in order for the UK to keep up with its international counterparts. Young people fear they won't be able to reach "even the same living standards as their parents", shadow chancellor John Mcdonnell says #marr pic.twitter.com/hJUnrrGKjW November 19, 2017 The shadow chancellor said many people still feel they are living in a recession and that “gross inequality” remains in UK society. “We have had people whose wages have been cut by 10% - nurses for example,” he added. “For the first time we have people of all generations saying for the next generation it will be worse off for them.  Young people these days can’t expect even the same living standards of their parents.” But he was unable to spell out the concrete cost of his party’s economic plans. "Just one little number?" asks #marr as @johnmcdonnellMP fails to give figures for cost of nationalisation pic.twitter.com/ZiYuctPsMj On Brexit, McDonnell told the programme bringing back a hard border in Ireland would be “a nightmare”. “I would not want to see anything that undermines the peace process,” he said. Northern Ireland’s future is one of the key issues that must be negotiated upon with the EU before talks can move on to trading relationships. Philip Hammond, who was next up, agreed with his opposite number. He said: “Everybody wants to avoid a hard border in Ireland and we are clear it will not be us creating hard infrastructure.” Hammond said the UK had “had a difficult year”, but he believed the government was “now on the brink of making some serious movement forward with our negotiations with EU”. Unfortunately for the chancellor, his unemployment gaffe dominated the interview. When pulled up on his error, he quickly clarified that he had in fact been talking about unemployment levels being at a record low. Moving to budget-related matters, it seemed apparent NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens will not be getting the extra £4bn he asked for, despite his assertion it was essential for the health service to reach its waiting time targets. Hammond said the government would deal with pressures on the NHS in “a sensible, measured way”. “In the run-up to budget lots of people come to see us with very large numbers that are absolutely essential, otherwise Armageddon will arrive,” he added. “I don’t contest for one moment that the NHS is under pressure.  We will work with them and seek to address those pressure points.” Government will address pressures on NHS in a "sensible, measured and balanced way", Chancellor Philip Hammond says #marr pic.twitter.com/1LEBiAtozJ The chancellor set out plans to pave the way for the building of 300,000 new homes a year. He said it was “not acceptable” that many people were unable to afford their own home - but warned there was no “silver bullet” that would solve the housing crisis. Hammond also wants the UK to be “at the forefront of the next industrial revolution” and embrace new technologies - revealing he will be going for a spin in a driverless car on Monday. “I want to see fully driverless cars on the road in the UK by 2021,” he said. “I believe we have to embrace these technologies and take up challenges if we want to see Britain lead the next industrial revolution.  We have got to build industries that will create high paid jobs of the future. “Either we embrace change and put ourselves at the forefront, or we hide from it and slip behind.” "Our objective is to see fully driverless cars without a safety attendant in the car, on the roads in the UK by 2021" @PhilipHammondUK #marr pic.twitter.com/R8TNjdoeuy — The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) November 19, 2017 One-time Labour leadership hopeful David Miliband is paying a brief visit to the political airwaves to promote his new book. The former foreign secretary, who is now president of the International Rescue Committee, said he believes the UK has a “moral duty” to deal with the plight of refugees. President of @theIRC @DMiliband says he cannot believe an average of 6 refugees per constituency in the UK is unmanageable. #Peston pic.twitter.com/9CJ4x168Az — Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) November 19, 2017 Miliband said Europe has changed since the UK voted to leave the union, and at the time of the referendum there was “very little flesh on the bones about exactly what Brexit meant”. Since the referendum it has become clear Europe is changing, Britain has to keep #Brexit options open - says @DMiliband #Peston pic.twitter.com/EMNEeT59AP — Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) November 19, 2017 Philip Hammond did the double, also appearing on Peston to talk further about his budget on Wednesday. Reiterating plans for more housebuilding as part of a “balanced budget”, the Chancellor then proceeded to get a bit Game of Thrones, promising the UK would “pay what we owe” as part of Brexit negotiations. “We should negotiate hard to get the very best deal we can.  In the end if we owe something, we will pay it.  That’s the kind of country we are,” he added. On the Brexit divorce bill @PhilipHammondUK says the UK will pay its debts but must not pay more. #Peston pic.twitter.com/ecCRpfhNSg Pienaar’s Politics Things got a bit lively on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sunday morning show, with Brexit-sceptic Dominic Grieve telling John Pienaar he believes some of his colleagues have become “unhinged”. The former attorney general, who was named among the Telegraph’s ‘Brexit mutineers’ last week, was swift to point out he didn’t mean Theresa May, but said the government’s plans to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill were “completely goofy”. "This is all part of the general hysteria which seems to be developing around Brexit" says Dominic Grieve MP "I do sometimes think that some of my colleagues have become unhinged actually..." 🔥🔥🔥 November 19, 2017 Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth joined Sky’s Niall Paterson to question Philip Hammond’s decision not to give more cash to the NHS, given skyrocketing waiting times for treatment. ″I’ve heard Philip Hammon being interviewed this morning and he’s been dismissive of the calls for more money,” the Leicester MP said. “This is happening now, today, and if he doesn’t realise that he is completely out of touch.” Labour's Shadow Health Sec. @JonAshworth says the #NHS is in "a very serious situation" #Paterson @skynewsniall pic.twitter.com/NQvWnwwz2w Beyond the M25, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he was worried about a “London-centric” approach to Brexit, with no regard being paid to the UK’s regions, and said politicians outside of Westminster needed a seat at the negotiating table. “I’m worried that we will get the same old story, where the government protects the city of London ahead of all other industries,” he added. Manchester Mayor @AndyBurnhamGM says he's worried about a "London-centric approach to Brexit", with no thought of the UK's regions #Paterson pic.twitter.com/HEq6By4fVM — Sunday with Paterson (@RidgeOnSunday) November 19, 2017 And Treasury select committee member Stephen Hammond - another of the Brexit mutineers - described the Telegraph’s front page headline as “pretty silly”. “I’ve never voted against my party in my life,” the Conservative MP said. “What we are going through is a normal Parliamentary process.” "A pretty silly headline": @S_Hammond's reaction to being called a "#Brexit mutineer" by a newspaper #Paterson pic.twitter.com/ngVATmBbzE The two Bs - Brexit and the budget - were high on the agenda on this week’s show. Tory backbencher and grassroots darling Jacob Rees-Mogg revealed he had written his own alternative budget proposals (because, hey, who hasn’t?), but claimed he had “the greatest confidence” in the chancellor. Budget is “an opportunity for Chancellor to show he’s putting aside mistakes of Treasury in the past” over Brexit @Jacob_Rees_Mogg #bbcsp pic.twitter.com/Nyr46YWvXC — BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) November 19, 2017 The keen Brexit cheerleader also said the government should make good on Vote Leave’s promise of £350 million a week for the NHS. “Politicians have to recongise that voters do not look at small print,” he said. “If you put £350 million on the side of the bus, people do not notice the ’may’ - and nor should they. “It is very important that promise is delivered on.” However, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said he didn’t believe the UK’s exit from the EU would actually happen. In a head-to-head with Labour Leave supporter and former MP Gisela Stuart, he said: “I accept the result of the referendum, but I do not think we are necessarily going to leave.  The public is entitled to change its mind and I think it will change its mind.” .@campbellclaret accuses Brexiteers as "delusional" - "The vast bulk of British businesses think Brexit is a disaster" #bbcsp pic.twitter.com/rprfyr5C8I — BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) November 19, 2017 Not enough politics for one day? Listen to our CommonsPeople podcast as we chew the fat over the Brexit ‘mutineers’, Universal Credit ways out for ministers and preview the budget. Click HERE to listen on iTunes/iPhone or HERE on Audioboom/Android.

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    Zimbabwe’s ruling party has begun the recall of Robert Mugabe as party leader, to replace him with the fired vice president. While he still refuses to step aside as president, the removal of him as head of the ruling Zanu-PF puts the end of his 37-rule in the country closer. The removal is a move to force a peaceful end to his 37 years in power following a de facto military coup. He was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, Reuters reported. “He has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.” Mugabe’s wife Grace, who had harboured ambitions of succeeding her husband, was also expelled from the party. Speaking before the meeting, Chris Mutsvangwa, a leader of influential group of war veterans, said the 93-year-old Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could. “He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” he said. Mutsvangwa followed up with threat to call for street protests if Mugabe refused to go, telling reporters: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.” Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow. His stunning downfall in just four days is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to quit.

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    The 2017 UN climate change summit finished on Friday with significant progress made toward converting the landmark 2015 Paris deal into a rule-based framework. Coming amidst growing scientific alarm about global warming, the chair of the event had called for "the vision of Paris" to shine through given growing concerns that the process at a critical crossroads. It is fitting that the Fiji prime minister chaired the meeting given that the very existence of low lying islands is threatened by sea level rises due to climate change, redrawing the map of the world with key cities like Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Osaka, Miami, Alexandria and The Hague threatened too. On October 30, the World Meteorological Organisation warned the last time carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were as high as now was three to five million years ago, and that temperatures could continue to spike, hitting dangerous levels by 2100 -- unless world leaders take major action. In what was a tough backdrop for the first Pacific island nation to chair the event -- the first time the annual summit has convened since Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris deal -- moving forward with implementation of Paris was the major point of discussion. This includes delivering on the targets that were decided by each country referred to as the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The importance attached to the NDCs reflects the fact that Paris is a flexible, 'bottom-up' treaty whereby countries develop bespoke plans to realise emissions targets with national and sub-national governments working in partnership with business. In other words, while Paris created a global architecture for tackling global warming, it recognises that diverse, often decentralised policies will be required by different types of economies to meet climate commitments. While the wisdom of this may appear obvious, it represents a breakthrough from the more rigid 'top-down' Kyoto Protocol framework. Kyoto worked in 1997 for the 37 developed countries and the EU states who agreed it. But a different way of working is needed for the more complex Paris deal which involves more than 170 diverse developing and developed states which agreed to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. That this approach makes good sense is reflected in the diversity of climate measures that countries, pre-Paris, had started to make in response to global warming. This has been illustrated in reports by the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics, including in 2015, which focused on 98 countries plus the EU, together accounting for 93% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and revealed there are more than 800 climate-change laws and policies in place across the world, rising from 54 in 1997. Approximately half of these (398) were legislative measures, and half (408) executive actions (e.g. decrees). And 46 new laws and policies were passed in the 12 months prior to the 2015 Paris summit alone -- highlighting that domestic measures to address global warming are being approved at a strong clip. Some 45 countries, including the 28 EU members as a bloc, have economy wide targets to reduce their emissions. Together, they account for over 75% of global emissions. In addition, 41 states have economy-wide targets up to 2020, and 22 have targets beyond 2020. Moreover, 86 countries have specific targets for renewable energy, energy demand, transportation or land-use, land-use change and forestry, while some 80% of countries have renewable targets; the majority of them are executive policies. This underlines that the best way to tackle climate change, going forward, is a decentralised approach with nations meeting their target commitments in innovative and effective ways that builds on this momentum. Take the example of Morocco, the host of last November's summit, which has become a leader in renewables. The country gets nearly 30% of its energy from renewable energy and is aiming for a goal of 50% by 2030. It is an agenda setter on renewables for other emerging economies, including in North Africa, and one of the highlights of that summit was a pledge by almost 50 emerging markets from Africa to the Americas to try to become zero carbon societies by 2050 driven by these 'new' energies. A key part of the drive here is harnessing how renewables could drive a remarkable new industrial revolution potentially becoming a key source of economic growth and sustainable development. In Morocco, the drive toward renewables relies not just on big infrastructure projects like solar and wind plants, but also less expensive local, small-scale initiatives to encourage key eco-friendly projects including in agriculture. Thus as well as major power projects, such as the Energipro initiative which has provided Africa's largest wind farm, and what will become the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world at Ouarzazate, there is emphasis on encouraging the agricultural sector (which employs more than 40% of the workforce) to become more climate-conscious. There are big plans underway, for instance, with irrigation systems to reduce use of water and energy. Morocco's moves here are underpinned, in part, through international collaboration which highlights that another key strength of Paris's emphasis on decentralised solutions is the international partnerships spawning between regions, cities and institutions right across the world. For instance, the University of Hull in England has forged a relationship with the International University of Agadir, Universiapolis, to share climate research insights and technological solutions to help realise Morocco's goals to promote lower carbon growth. Take overall, implementing Paris will require diverse, often decentralised policies by different types of economies. If countries now leverage the flexibility of the framework, it can become a key foundation stone of future sustainable development for billions across the world in the 2020s and potentially beyond. Lord Prescott is a former UK Deputy Prime Minister and was Europe's Chief Negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol. Andrew Hammond is an Associate at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics

    0 0

    The 2017 UN climate change summit finished on Friday with significant progress made toward converting the landmark 2015 Paris deal into a rule-based framework. Coming amidst growing scientific alarm about global warming, the chair of the event had called for "the vision of Paris" to shine through given growing concerns that the process at a critical crossroads. It is fitting that the Fiji prime minister chaired the meeting given that the very existence of low lying islands is threatened by sea level rises due to climate change, redrawing the map of the world with key cities like Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Osaka, Miami, Alexandria and The Hague threatened too. On October 30, the World Meteorological Organisation warned the last time carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were as high as now was three to five million years ago, and that temperatures could continue to spike, hitting dangerous levels by 2100 -- unless world leaders take major action. In what was a tough backdrop for the first Pacific island nation to chair the event -- the first time the annual summit has convened since Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris deal -- moving forward with implementation of Paris was the major point of discussion. This includes delivering on the targets that were decided by each country referred to as the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The importance attached to the NDCs reflects the fact that Paris is a flexible, 'bottom-up' treaty whereby countries develop bespoke plans to realise emissions targets with national and sub-national governments working in partnership with business. In other words, while Paris created a global architecture for tackling global warming, it recognises that diverse, often decentralised policies will be required by different types of economies to meet climate commitments. While the wisdom of this may appear obvious, it represents a breakthrough from the more rigid 'top-down' Kyoto Protocol framework. Kyoto worked in 1997 for the 37 developed countries and the EU states who agreed it. But a different way of working is needed for the more complex Paris deal which involves more than 170 diverse developing and developed states which agreed to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. That this approach makes good sense is reflected in the diversity of climate measures that countries, pre-Paris, had started to make in response to global warming. This has been illustrated in reports by the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics, including in 2015, which focused on 98 countries plus the EU, together accounting for 93% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and revealed there are more than 800 climate-change laws and policies in place across the world, rising from 54 in 1997. Approximately half of these (398) were legislative measures, and half (408) executive actions (e.g. decrees). And 46 new laws and policies were passed in the 12 months prior to the 2015 Paris summit alone -- highlighting that domestic measures to address global warming are being approved at a strong clip. Some 45 countries, including the 28 EU members as a bloc, have economy wide targets to reduce their emissions. Together, they account for over 75% of global emissions. In addition, 41 states have economy-wide targets up to 2020, and 22 have targets beyond 2020. Moreover, 86 countries have specific targets for renewable energy, energy demand, transportation or land-use, land-use change and forestry, while some 80% of countries have renewable targets; the majority of them are executive policies. This underlines that the best way to tackle climate change, going forward, is a decentralised approach with nations meeting their target commitments in innovative and effective ways that builds on this momentum. Take the example of Morocco, the host of last November's summit, which has become a leader in renewables. The country gets nearly 30% of its energy from renewable energy and is aiming for a goal of 50% by 2030. It is an agenda setter on renewables for other emerging economies, including in North Africa, and one of the highlights of that summit was a pledge by almost 50 emerging markets from Africa to the Americas to try to become zero carbon societies by 2050 driven by these 'new' energies. A key part of the drive here is harnessing how renewables could drive a remarkable new industrial revolution potentially becoming a key source of economic growth and sustainable development. In Morocco, the drive toward renewables relies not just on big infrastructure projects like solar and wind plants, but also less expensive local, small-scale initiatives to encourage key eco-friendly projects including in agriculture. Thus as well as major power projects, such as the Energipro initiative which has provided Africa's largest wind farm, and what will become the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world at Ouarzazate, there is emphasis on encouraging the agricultural sector (which employs more than 40% of the workforce) to become more climate-conscious. There are big plans underway, for instance, with irrigation systems to reduce use of water and energy. Morocco's moves here are underpinned, in part, through international collaboration which highlights that another key strength of Paris's emphasis on decentralised solutions is the international partnerships spawning between regions, cities and institutions right across the world. For instance, the University of Hull in England has forged a relationship with the International University of Agadir, Universiapolis, to share climate research insights and technological solutions to help realise Morocco's goals to promote lower carbon growth. Take overall, implementing Paris will require diverse, often decentralised policies by different types of economies. If countries now leverage the flexibility of the framework, it can become a key foundation stone of future sustainable development for billions across the world in the 2020s and potentially beyond. Lord Prescott is a former UK Deputy Prime Minister and was Europe's Chief Negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol. Andrew Hammond is an Associate at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics

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    As the 2017 Budget approaches, there has been a growing call on the Chancellor to ensure that health, and particularly mental health, funding is given a boost in order to meet the Prime Minister’s ambition is tackling the ‘burning injustices’ of poor access to help when people need it.

    The need for fairer funding for mental health services within the NHS is now widely known and clear. Mental health care accounts for about 12% of NHS spending yet mental ill health represents about 23% of need. Children’s mental health in particular has long been under-funded, resulting in serious shortages and long delays for parents and young people trying to get help.

    The Government has already made some welcome and important commitments to boost mental health service spending and support. First, in order to deliver the NHS’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, published last year, the Government pledged that an extra £1 billion would be spent on mental health services by 2020/21: a significant and welcome boost to fund much needed talking therapy services, crisis care and early help for young adults (among others). And second, it has pledged to spend £1.4 billion spread over five years (2015-2020) to improve children and young people’s mental health services.

    It is now crucial that the funds earmarked for mental health support, for children and adults alike, are protected and spent as intended. In every local area, we need to see real increases in spending on mental health care coupled with the changes that need to take place to meet people’s needs effectively. In a context where the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has warned that the NHS’s finances are under extreme pressure, it is more important than ever that we do not repeat past patterns of ‘raiding’ mental health budgets to offset deficits in other parts of the system.

    A Budget for better mental health would, however, look beyond the confines of the NHS. First, it needs to consider the essential role of social care in working with NHS mental health services. Often it is social care that enables people living with a mental illness to live well and to stay out of hospital. Housing support also plays a critical part in mental health services yet is often overlooked and undervalued. Both face severe financial constraints and need a more secure future.

    Local authorities also now have responsibility for public health, and more and more local councils are taking action to prevent mental health difficulties and build stronger communities. Most now have strategies to prevent deaths through suicide and many offer a range of interventions to support families to boost children’s wellbeing. Public health departments also commission alcohol and drug services, and the vast majority of people they support have mental health needs that are often poorly met. Yet public health budgets have been cut repeatedly and preventive services have faced big cuts.

    A Budget for better mental health would also seek to ensure that schools had the right help and support to build children’s emotional health and wellbeing – from training teachers to be more confident talking about mental health to providing counselling and other support services when students (or staff) need them. It would take concerted action on race equality in mental health. It would take steps to boost employment support for people with mental health difficulties, moving closer to evidence-based help and away from the use of conditions and sanctions. It would ensure people with mental health difficulties who rely on social security benefits had enough money coming in to live on. And it would invest urgently in mental health support throughout the criminal justice system, including prisons and probation, and for people held in immigration detention.

    Tackling the injustices around mental health requires commitment across government, linking national and local with a shared goal of bringing about equality for mental health. The Budget could provide a clear signal that the Government is serious about working across the system to build on what the NHS is beginning to achieve through the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and bring about lasting change in the lives of individuals, families and communities nationwide.


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    As the 2017 Budget approaches, there has been a growing call on the Chancellor to ensure that health, and particularly mental health, funding is given a boost in order to meet the Prime Minister’s ambition is tackling the ‘burning injustices’ of poor access to help when people need it. The need for fairer funding for mental health services within the NHS is now widely known and clear. Mental health care accounts for about 12% of NHS spending yet mental ill health represents about 23% of need. Children’s mental health in particular has long been under-funded, resulting in serious shortages and long delays for parents and young people trying to get help. The Government has already made some welcome and important commitments to boost mental health service spending and support. First, in order to deliver the NHS’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, published last year, the Government pledged that an extra £1 billion would be spent on mental health services by 2020/21: a significant and welcome boost to fund much needed talking therapy services, crisis care and early help for young adults (among others). And second, it has pledged to spend £1.4 billion spread over five years (2015-2020) to improve children and young people’s mental health services. It is now crucial that the funds earmarked for mental health support, for children and adults alike, are protected and spent as intended. In every local area, we need to see real increases in spending on mental health care coupled with the changes that need to take place to meet people’s needs effectively. In a context where the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has warned that the NHS’s finances are under extreme pressure, it is more important than ever that we do not repeat past patterns of ‘raiding’ mental health budgets to offset deficits in other parts of the system. A Budget for better mental health would, however, look beyond the confines of the NHS. First, it needs to consider the essential role of social care in working with NHS mental health services. Often it is social care that enables people living with a mental illness to live well and to stay out of hospital. Housing support also plays a critical part in mental health services yet is often overlooked and undervalued. Both face severe financial constraints and need a more secure future. Local authorities also now have responsibility for public health, and more and more local councils are taking action to prevent mental health difficulties and build stronger communities. Most now have strategies to prevent deaths through suicide and many offer a range of interventions to support families to boost children’s wellbeing. Public health departments also commission alcohol and drug services, and the vast majority of people they support have mental health needs that are often poorly met. Yet public health budgets have been cut repeatedly and preventive services have faced big cuts. A Budget for better mental health would also seek to ensure that schools had the right help and support to build children’s emotional health and wellbeing – from training teachers to be more confident talking about mental health to providing counselling and other support services when students (or staff) need them. It would take concerted action on race equality in mental health. It would take steps to boost employment support for people with mental health difficulties, moving closer to evidence-based help and away from the use of conditions and sanctions. It would ensure people with mental health difficulties who rely on social security benefits had enough money coming in to live on. And it would invest urgently in mental health support throughout the criminal justice system, including prisons and probation, and for people held in immigration detention. Tackling the injustices around mental health requires commitment across government, linking national and local with a shared goal of bringing about equality for mental health. The Budget could provide a clear signal that the Government is serious about working across the system to build on what the NHS is beginning to achieve through the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and bring about lasting change in the lives of individuals, families and communities nationwide.

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    A 22-year-old man has been arrested after police found him with 53 stolen mobile phones after a Royal Blood gig.

    Officers carried out a “proactive” operation after receiving intelligence that previous gigs by the rock band had been targeted, West Midlands Police said. 

    The man was detained on suspicion of theft in Broad Street, near to the concert at Arena Birmingham, on Saturday night, The Press Association reports.

    Officers said the majority of victims had been identified but urged others to get in contact.

    Detective Sergeant Jeff Clifford of CID said: “It’s an unfortunate reality that large crowds at concerts such as this make rich pickings for career criminals. 

    “We’re hot on the heels of these offenders but you can also reduce your chances of falling victim to such crimes by remaining extra vigilant when attending busy events.

    “If you think you had your phone taken last night, please get in touch with us and we can check whether or not we have been able to recover it.”


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    A 22-year-old man has been arrested after police found him with 53 stolen mobile phones after a Royal Blood gig. Officers carried out a “proactive” operation after receiving intelligence that previous gigs by the rock band had been targeted, West Midlands Police said. The man was detained on suspicion of theft in Broad Street, near to the concert at Arena Birmingham, on Saturday night, The Press Association reports. We made an arrest and recovered 50 phones following last night's @royalblooduk gig at @ArenaBirmingham. Here's how to get in touch if you're missing your handset. #royalblood https://t.co/mjjHCg3RbJ pic.twitter.com/2A1GhvdCsO — West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) November 19, 2017 Officers said the majority of victims had been identified but urged others to get in contact. Detective Sergeant Jeff Clifford of CID said: “It’s an unfortunate reality that large crowds at concerts such as this make rich pickings for career criminals. “We’re hot on the heels of these offenders but you can also reduce your chances of falling victim to such crimes by remaining extra vigilant when attending busy events. “If you think you had your phone taken last night, please get in touch with us and we can check whether or not we have been able to recover it.”

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    Robert Mugabe is desperately clinging on as Zimbabwe President despite expectations he was about to quit during an extraordinary day that has stunned the world.

    The news agency Reuters had reported the 93-year-old was to announce he was stepping down during an address to the nation.

    Instead, by the end of the long, rambling speech he had given no indication he was about to depart and signed off with the words: “I thank you and goodnight.”

    The ruling ZANU-PF party had earlier sacked Mugabe as party leader and gave him less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.

    Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was dumbstruck. “I am baffled. It’s not just me, it’s the whole nation. He’s playing a game,” he said. “He is trying to manipulate everyone. He has let the whole nation down.”

    Straight after his address, the leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans said impeachment plans would go ahead as scheduled after Mugabe defied expectations.

    Chris Mutsvangwa, who has been leading a campaign to oust the president, also implied that Mugabe, who spoke with a firm voice but occasionally lost his way in his script during the 20-minute address, was not aware of what had happened just hours earlier.

    “Either somebody within ZANU-PF didn’t tell him what had happened within his own party, so he went and addressed that meeting oblivious, or (he was) blind or deaf to what his party has told him,” Mutsvangwa said.

    Two sources - one a senior member of the government, the other familiar with talks with leaders of the military - had told Reuters that Mugabe would use the address to announce his resignation.

    But in the speech from his official residence, sitting alongside a row of generals, Mugabe acknowledged criticisms from ZANU-PF, the military and the public, but made no mention of his own position, instead pledging to preside over the ZANU-PF congress scheduled for next month.

    Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence from Britain in 1980, was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month in a move that triggered the mid-week intervention by the army.

    In scenes unthinkable just a week ago, the announcement drew cheers from the 200 delegates packed into ZANU-PF’s Harare headquarters to seal the fate of Mugabe, whose support has crumbled in the four days since the army seized power.

    Mugabe has been given until noon on Monday to resign or face impeachment, an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics who was once feted across the continent as an anti-colonial liberation hero.

    Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month. 

    <strong>Mugabe's wife Grace and&nbsp;Emmerson Mnangagwa.</strong>

    Mnangagwa’s dismissal is what prompted the military to move against Mugabe, amid fears he would appoint his wife Grace to succeed him. She was also expelled from the party.

    Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall.

    On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow.

    Mugabe’s stunning downfall in just four days is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to quit.


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    Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has agreed to stand down after 37 years in charge, news agency Reuters has reported. The ruling ZANU-PF party had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup. A source said the Zimbabwe military was working on a resignation statement by Mugabe, without giving details. Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster ZBC said Mugabe would address the nation shortly. Earlier on Sunday, the official Herald newspaper showed pictures of him meeting top generals at his State House offices, and a ZBC source said an outside-broadcast truck was being sent in preparation for an announcement. Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence from Britain in 1980, was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month in a move that triggered the mid-week intervention by the army. In scenes unthinkable just a week ago, the announcement drew cheers from the 200 delegates packed into ZANU-PF’s Harare headquarters to seal the fate of Mugabe, whose support has crumbled in the four days since the army seized power. Mugabe was given until noon on Monday to resign or face impeachment, an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics who was once feted across the continent as an anti-colonial liberation hero. Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month. Mnangagwa’s dismissal is what prompted the military to move against Mugabe, amid fears he would appoint his wife Grace to succeed him. She was also expelled from the party. Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow. Mugabe’s stunning downfall in just four days is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to quit.

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    A police force in Scotland has been praised for using Twitter to help women in abusive relationships by writing an open letter telling them: “Help is out there.”

    Officers on the Lochaber and Skye Police force, which covers the highlands ans islands of western Scotland, addressed a woman in the message of support.

    But they later added the message on social media was to help “anyone who may be at risk”.

    The series of tweets opens by saying: 

    “A letter to a young woman in Skye. We know you follow this account and want you to see this.

    “We’ve told you previously that we think you are at risk of domestic abuse from your partner.”

    It continued:

    “We want to help you and are doing lots with other agencies to try to keep you safe. You might not see us, you might not even like us being involved but we are always thinking about how we can help you.

    “Your family and friends have told you they think you are in danger – they support you and want you to be safe.

    “We think he’s probably told you, ‘It won’t happen again’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I’ll change’, he’s maybe even told you that it’s your fault – IT’S NOT.

    “The violence, threats, degrading comments and controlling behaviour are not the life you need to lead, it can be better.

    “You are not trapped and you are not alone, we can help you get out, your family and friends can help you get out and Womens Aid can help you get out.

    “Call us, come to the Police station, phone someone, speak to local Womens Aid worker 01478613365 or 0800 027 1234.

    “There is no excuse for domestic abuse. Help is out there.”

    Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said she thought the tweets were a “great, creative use of social media”.

    Scottish Women’s Aid runs a 24/7 national helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as a network of local support across the country.

    “Lochaber and Skye Police are trying to reach out in a different way which is fascinating and exciting,” she told BBC Scotland.

    Many others praised the initiative:

    A later tweet made clear the messages were intended for anyone at risk of domestic abuse.


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    A police force in Scotland has been praised for using Twitter to help women in abusive relationships by writing an open letter telling them: “Help is out there.” Officers on the Lochaber and Skye Police force, which covers the highlands ans islands of western Scotland, addressed a woman in the message of support. But they later added the message on social media was to help “anyone who may be at risk”. The series of tweets opens by saying: “A letter to a young woman in Skye. We know you follow this account and want you to see this. “We’ve told you previously that we think you are at risk of domestic abuse from your partner.” A letter to a young woman in #Skye. We know you follow this account and want you to see this. We’ve told you previously that we think you are at risk of domestic abuse from your partner. November 18, 2017 We want to help you and are doing lots with other agencies to try to keep you safe. You might not see us, you might not even like us being involved but we are always thinking about how we can help you. November 18, 2017 We think he’s probably told you, “It won’t happen again”, “I’m sorry”, “I’ll change”, he’s maybe even told you that it’s your fault - IT’S NOT. The violence, threats, degrading comments and controlling behaviour are not the life you need to lead, it can be better. November 18, 2017 You are not trapped and you are not alone, we can help you get out, your family and friends can help you get out and @scotwomensaid can help you get out. Call us, come to the Police station, phone someone, speak to local Womens Aid worker 01478613365 or 0800 027 1234. November 18, 2017 It continued: “We want to help you and are doing lots with other agencies to try to keep you safe. You might not see us, you might not even like us being involved but we are always thinking about how we can help you. “Your family and friends have told you they think you are in danger – they support you and want you to be safe. “We think he’s probably told you, ‘It won’t happen again’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I’ll change’, he’s maybe even told you that it’s your fault – IT’S NOT. “The violence, threats, degrading comments and controlling behaviour are not the life you need to lead, it can be better. “You are not trapped and you are not alone, we can help you get out, your family and friends can help you get out and Womens Aid can help you get out. “Call us, come to the Police station, phone someone, speak to local Womens Aid worker 01478613365 or 0800 027 1234. “There is no excuse for domestic abuse. Help is out there.” Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said she thought the tweets were a “great, creative use of social media”. Scottish Women’s Aid runs a 24/7 national helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as a network of local support across the country. “Lochaber and Skye Police are trying to reach out in a different way which is fascinating and exciting,” she told BBC Scotland. @lochaberwa and @Rosswomensaid are the local stars of Women’s Aid and will be well-placed to work with @LochabSkyePol to publicise all the support available. Great to see police and services working together and sharing Scotland’s Helpline: 08000271234 https://t.co/m57o2TtYIS November 19, 2017 On behalf of the #HebridesWomensNetwork... thank u so much!!!! I personally know of one #domesticabuse victim who saw this today. This was a genius move on social media x November 19, 2017 I felt quite emotional reading this. Been there, done that, got out. Took a while, but once I did, I slowly put my life back together. You have the strength to do this, you just need to put one foot in front of each other until you're out x November 18, 2017 If you're the woman and you read this, please please get out of your relationship. They never change they're not capable. I had 2 violent relationships over 15 years. I'm free now and I can't say enough how much better life is without abuse. Be strong there's plenty help for you. November 18, 2017 Sincere thanks for the positive response to our #domesticabuse appeal today. It was a reach-out to anyone who may be at risk - whether you live in #Skye or #Stirling, #Lochaber or #Largs. Anyone can be affected, but by reaching out we can start making a difference together November 18, 2017

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    Gaia Pope had not suffered any injuries that would suggest she was murdered, detectives have said.

    A post-mortem examination “has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in” the death of the teenager, who was found by specialist search teams in Swanage, Dorset, on Saturday 11 days after she went missing.

    Two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman - all from Swanage and known to Gaia - were last week arrested on suspicion of murder but were released under investigation while enquiries continued.

    The 19-year-old student was battling PTSD and suffered from epilepsy.

    Dorset Police said they were “confident” the body is Gaia, which was found near the coastal path and the field where items of her clothing were located on Thursday.

    Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology.

    “The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death. 

    “We would like to take this further opportunity to pass our thoughts to Gaia’s family who we continue to support and who ask for respect of their privacy at this incredibly stressful time. 

    “Once again I would like to pass our thanks to the public volunteers and partner organisations who have supported this inquiry throughout and have been material in locating Gaia. 

    “The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.”

    Gaia’s sister has described the teenager as “the absolute light of my life” following Saturday’s discovery.

    Clara Pope said her sister was “so beautiful, so emotionally wise and intelligent and so passionate and artistic and creative and understanding”.

    Hundreds of volunteers have been helping in the search effort in a bid to find the teenager.

    Gaia had not been seen since about 4pm on November 7 in Manor Gardens, Swanage.

    An hour earlier she was captured on CCTV buying an ice cream inside St Michael’s Garage in the town, having been driven there by a relative.

    She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers. The black jacket she had on was recovered from an address in Manor Gardens.


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    Gaia Pope had not suffered any injuries that would suggest she was murdered, detectives have said. A post-mortem examination “has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in” the death of the teenager, who was found by specialist search teams in Swanage, Dorset, on Saturday - 11 days after she went missing. Two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman - all from Swanage and known to Gaia - were last week arrested on suspicion of murder but were released under investigation while enquiries continued. The 19-year-old student was battling PTSD and suffered from epilepsy. Dorset Police said they were “confident” the body is Gaia, which was found near the coastal path and the field where items of her clothing were located on Thursday. Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology. “The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death. “We would like to take this further opportunity to pass our thoughts to Gaia’s family who we continue to support and who ask for respect of their privacy at this incredibly stressful time. “Once again I would like to pass our thanks to the public volunteers and partner organisations who have supported this inquiry throughout and have been material in locating Gaia. “The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.” Gaia’s sister has described the teenager as “the absolute light of my life” following Saturday’s discovery. Clara Pope said her sister was “so beautiful, so emotionally wise and intelligent and so passionate and artistic and creative and understanding”. Hundreds of volunteers have been helping in the search effort in a bid to find the teenager. Gaia had not been seen since about 4pm on November 7 in Manor Gardens, Swanage. An hour earlier she was captured on CCTV buying an ice cream inside St Michael’s Garage in the town, having been driven there by a relative. She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers. The black jacket she had on was recovered from an address in Manor Gardens.

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    Jonnie Peacock has become the eighth celebrity to be voted off this year’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

    The Paralympian and his partner Oti Mabuse left the competition during Sunday (19 November) night’s results show, after losing the dance-off to Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice

    <strong>Jonnie Peacock and Oti Mabuse have been voted off 'Strictly'</strong>

    Despite being one of the favourites to win the competition, Debbie found herself in the bottom two after finishing fifth on the leaderboard during Saturday’s Blackpool special

    Both couples performed their routines again, with Debbie and Giovanni doing their Samba to a Spice Girls medley of ‘Wannabe’ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘, while and Jonnie and Oti performed their Tango to ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Eurythmics in a bid to remain in the competition. 

    However, the judges unanimously voted to save Debbie and Giovanni, claiming she gave a more “technical” performance.

    <strong>Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice were saved by the judges</strong>

    After it was announced Jonnie and Oti would be going home, he told host Tess Daly: “I think it’s been an absolute honour to be the first disabled person and I want to thank each and every one of you for judging me as an equal. That’s what I want.

    “You’ve been critical with me and I want that criticism; and I think that’s fantastic and hope it paves the way for more people to come through and I think they may be able to stick their bum under a bit better than me. 

    “I need to say an absolutely gigantic thank you to this woman [Oti] for pushing me because she knows what I’m capable of.

    “Her choreography has been has been outstanding, and for putting up with me, pinching me, biting me - thank you so much.”

     Oti added: “This has been one of the most life changing things that could ever happen to me. Jonnie is not only an inspiration but he represents so much more.

    “If anybody wants to do anything, if you put your mind to it then you can achieve it and that’s what he represents.”

    ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ continues next Saturday at 6.50pm on BBC One. 


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    Jonnie Peacock has become the eighth celebrity to be voted off this year’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. The Paralympian and his partner Oti Mabuse left the competition during Sunday (19 November) night’s results show, after losing the dance-off to Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice. Despite being one of the favourites to win the competition, Debbie found herself in the bottom two after finishing fifth on the leaderboard during Saturday’s Blackpool special. Both couples performed their routines again, with Debbie and Giovanni doing their Samba to a Spice Girls medley of ‘Wannabe’ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘, while and Jonnie and Oti performed their Tango to ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Eurythmics in a bid to remain in the competition. However, the judges unanimously voted to save Debbie and Giovanni, claiming she gave a more “technical” performance. After it was announced Jonnie and Oti would be going home, he told host Tess Daly: “I think it’s been an absolute honour to be the first disabled person and I want to thank each and every one of you for judging me as an equal. That’s what I want. “You’ve been critical with me and I want that criticism; and I think that’s fantastic and hope it paves the way for more people to come through and I think they may be able to stick their bum under a bit better than me. “I need to say an absolutely gigantic thank you to this woman [Oti] for pushing me because she knows what I’m capable of. “Her choreography has been has been outstanding, and for putting up with me, pinching me, biting me - thank you so much.”  Oti added: “This has been one of the most life changing things that could ever happen to me. Jonnie is not only an inspiration but he represents so much more. “If anybody wants to do anything, if you put your mind to it then you can achieve it and that’s what he represents.” ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ continues next Saturday at 6.50pm on BBC One.

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    Ant and Dec wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room as they reunited on ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!’ on Sunday (19 November) night, cracking a joke about Ant’s rehab stint in the opening minutes of the show.

    The launch episode marked Ant McPartlin’s return to TV, after checking himself into a treatment facility for an addiction to painkillers earlier this year. 

    And as he and pal Declan Donnelly prepared to introduce the latest batch of celebrities entering the jungle, they tackled the topic in perfect fashion. 

    <strong>Ant made a spectacular return to TV</strong>

    Referencing reports that claimed Ant could have missed the series and have been replaced by Holly Willoughby, Dec opened the show by saying: “Good evening and welcome to Australia. We are here for three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby...” 

    “What?!” Ant interrupted. 

    “That is the wrong script,” he said, before turning to his pal. “Nobody was sure if you would make it.”

    “Unbelievable,” Ant joked. “I am back, my friend.”

    “Good to have you back,” Dec said, pulling his mate in for a hug.

    “Good to be back,” Ant added. 

    The star had been out of the spotlight in recent months, after he checked himself into a rehab in June, having admitted he had been struggling to manage the pain caused by a botched knee operation. 

    Fans took to Twitter to say how pleased they were to see them back together, also remarking how well Ant looked: 

    After leaving rehab in June, Ant opened up about his struggles in an interview with The Sun, revealing the extent of his addiction for the first time.

    “And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me, ‘You could have killed yourself’. ”

    He subsequently spent some time in America in an attempt to escape press intrusion, as he continued his recovery. 

    Prior to Sunday’s show, the pair shared their delight in working together again, with Ant telling The Sun: I’m excited to be back, I can’t wait. It’s going to be a good show. I’m feeling great.”

    Dec added: “It’s brilliant to be back together, it’s perfect. Everything just slotted back into place. We can’t wait and we’re raring to go. We are really excited. 

    “We just can’t wait to get in and get going now. We’ve been waiting for ages, it’s been a long summer break so we can’t wait.”

    The launch episode of ‘I’m A Celebrity’ saw Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, YouTuber Jack Maynard, footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, professional boxer Amir Khan‘Coronation Street’ star Jennie McAlpine, soap hunk Jamie Lomas, Toff from ‘Made In Chelsea’The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and former footballer Dennis Wise all enter the jungle. 

    The show continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV. 


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    Ant and Dec wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room as they reunited on ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!’ on Sunday (19 November) night, cracking a joke about Ant’s rehab stint in the opening minutes of the show. The launch episode marked Ant McPartlin’s return to TV, after checking himself into a treatment facility for an addiction to painkillers earlier this year. And as he and pal Declan Donnelly prepared to introduce the latest batch of celebrities entering the jungle, they tackled the topic in perfect fashion. Find someone who hugs you the way Dec hugs Ant 😍 😍 😍 #ImACeleb @imacelebrity @antanddec pic.twitter.com/vtsI5ijaWy Referencing reports that claimed Ant could have missed the series and have been replaced by Holly Willoughby, Dec opened the show by saying: “Good evening and welcome to Australia. We are here for three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby...” “What?!” Ant interrupted. “That is the wrong script,” he said, before turning to his pal. “Nobody was sure if you would make it.” “Unbelievable,” Ant joked. “I am back, my friend.” “Good to have you back,” Dec said, pulling his mate in for a hug. “Good to be back,” Ant added. The star had been out of the spotlight in recent months, after he checked himself into a rehab in June, having admitted he had been struggling to manage the pain caused by a botched knee operation. Fans took to Twitter to say how pleased they were to see them back together, also remarking how well Ant looked: I’m am so SO looking forward to seeing you guys back where you belong ... on my telly! @antanddec @imacelebrity #ImACeleb xx How nice is it to see Ant and Dec back man 😩 specially after everything’s ants been through. Absolute national treasures #imaceleb so much respect for ant for not long coming out of rehab and overcoming that and then still flying over to australia so soon and doing i’m a celeb, wouldn’t be the same without both ant AND dec #ImACelebrity November 19, 2017 @ITV @imacelebrity @antanddec Ant looking fantastic! Well done mate! Smashed rehab in the face and came out the other side stronger! Congrats 💪🏻 #inspiration #ImACelebrity2017 #ITV November 19, 2017 How well does Ant look 👀 after his stint in rehab. Good to see you back on the box with your pal dec @antanddec @imacelebrity #ImACelebrity2017 Also considering that Ant has had a pretty tough time of things lately with rehab and recovery he looks very very well indeed. Very pleased for him indeed. #ImACeleb @antanddec November 19, 2017 Beautiful handling of the "rehab" topic. You boys are a class act. TV needs you and in these shitty times, Britain needs you. Keep a straight bat. x After leaving rehab in June, Ant opened up about his struggles in an interview with The Sun, revealing the extent of his addiction for the first time. He subsequently spent some time in America in an attempt to escape press intrusion, as he continued his recovery. Prior to Sunday’s show, the pair shared their delight in working together again, with Ant telling The Sun: “I’m excited to be back, I can’t wait. It’s going to be a good show. I’m feeling great.” The launch episode of ‘I’m A Celebrity’ saw Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, YouTuber Jack Maynard, footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, professional boxer Amir Khan, ‘Coronation Street’ star Jennie McAlpine, soap hunk Jamie Lomas, Toff from ‘Made In Chelsea’, The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and former footballer Dennis Wise all enter the jungle. The show continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV.

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    Amir Khan may just be regretting a comment he made about ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!’ prior to entering the jungle. 

    The professional boxer claimed the ITV reality show was for “has beens” in a tweet sent back in 2012. 

    Amir was responding to a fan who asked if he would ever appear on the series. 

    “No its for has beens [sic],” he wrote. 

    As viewers saw him officially become one of this year’s contestants during Sunday’s (19 November) launch show, his tweet came back to haunt him, as many people began sharing it on Twitter, including former Queen Of The Jungle Vicky Pattison. 

    The tweet has since mysteriously disappeared from Amir’s account. 

    During the launch episode, fans also saw Amir claim to “never having seen” the show before, as he met hosts Ant and Dec. 

    He was later challenged to walk a plank 334 feet up on the roof of a Gold Coast hotel, as the contestants were set their first series of challenges

    Completing up this year’s line-up are Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, YouTuber Jack Maynard, footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, ‘Coronation Street’ star Jennie McAlpine, soap hunk Jamie Lomas, Toff from ‘Made In Chelsea’The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and former footballer Dennis Wise. 

    ‘I’m A Celebrity’ continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV. 


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    Buckingham Palace has released new photos of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to mark their 70th wedding anniversary on Monday.

    The pictures, taken by photographer Matt Holyoak from Camera Press last month, were shot in the white drawing room at Windsor Castle.

    The Queen, 91, is wearing a cream day dress by her in-house designer Angela Kelly, which she also wore at the Diamond Wedding Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving.

    The brooch she is wearing was given to her by Prince Philip, 96, in 1966.

    The platinum-textured backdrop is a nod to their 70th year together.

    The images follow another official portrait taken of the royals by Hollyoak which was released last week to mark the remarkable milestone.

    Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey on November, 20, 1947.

    Holyoak has worked with a host of celebrities and his photos have regularly been splashed on the covers of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Shortlist and Dazed and Confused.

    The photographs were taken for Camera Press, which also celebrates its anniversary 70 years after the agency distributed the royal pair’s official wedding photos as its first assignment.

    Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.

    Their enduring relationship has lasted the longest of any British sovereign, and Philip has been at the Queen’s side throughout the decades, supporting her as she devotes herself to her duties as head of state.

    The monarch, who was a 21-year-old princess when she walked up the aisle, is the nation’s longest reigning sovereign, having overtaken the record set by Queen Victoria.


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    Buckingham Palace has released new photos of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to mark their 70th wedding anniversary on Monday. The pictures, taken by photographer Matt Holyoak from Camera Press last month, were shot in the white drawing room at Windsor Castle. To celebrate the 70th Wedding Anniversary of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, new photographs are being released worldwide. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/zQBFjQTx3L November 19, 2017 The portraits of Her Majesty and The Duke were taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak of Camera Press, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle earlier this month. (2/3) pic.twitter.com/YFUyp8azJJ November 19, 2017 In these new photographs, The Queen and The Duke were pictured in front of a platinum-textured back drop. The marriage of the then Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten took place at Westminster Abbey on 20th November 1947. (3/3) pic.twitter.com/Orf37QKqwC November 19, 2017 The Queen, 91, is wearing a cream day dress by her in-house designer Angela Kelly, which she also wore at the Diamond Wedding Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving. The brooch she is wearing was given to her by Prince Philip, 96, in 1966. The platinum-textured backdrop is a nod to their 70th year together. The images follow another official portrait taken of the royals by Hollyoak which was released last week to mark the remarkable milestone. To mark The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh's 70th Wedding Anniversary, new photographic portraits have been released worldwide. pic.twitter.com/Jl6elndhFe November 18, 2017 Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey on November, 20, 1947.

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    Amir Khan may just be regretting a comment he made about ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!’ prior to entering the jungle. The professional boxer claimed the ITV reality show was for “has beens” in a tweet sent back in 2012. Amir was responding to a fan who asked if he would ever appear on the series. “No its for has beens [sic],” he wrote. As viewers saw him officially become one of this year’s contestants during Sunday’s (19 November) launch show, his tweet came back to haunt him, as many people began sharing it on Twitter, including former Queen Of The Jungle Vicky Pattison. The tweet has since mysteriously disappeared from Amir’s account. During the launch episode, fans also saw Amir claim to “never having seen” the show before, as he met hosts Ant and Dec. He was later challenged to walk a plank 334 feet up on the roof of a Gold Coast hotel, as the contestants were set their first series of challenges. Completing up this year’s line-up are Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, YouTuber Jack Maynard, footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, ‘Coronation Street’ star Jennie McAlpine, soap hunk Jamie Lomas, Toff from ‘Made In Chelsea’, The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and former footballer Dennis Wise. ‘I’m A Celebrity’ continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV.

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    Angela Merkel’s fourth term as German chancellor was plunged into doubt as talks between four parties to form a coalition government collapsed. 

    The decision by the the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to pull out of negotiations, citing irreconcilable differences, means that Merkel’s conservative bloc will either seek to form a minority government with the Greens or a new election will be held.

    Other options for Merkel would be attempting to continue her current coalition with the Social Democrats, which that party has said it will not do.

    Speaking to reporters, Merkel said she would meet the German president to inform him that she had failed to form a coalition government.

    The decision to meet President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has the power to call a new election, signaled that Merkel would not seek a minority government with the Greens after the FDP unexpectedly pulled out of the coalition talks.

    “It is a day of deep reflection on how to go forward in Germany,” Merkel told said.

    “As chancellor, I will do everything to ensure that this country is well managed in the difficult weeks to come.”

    The hope following elections in September was for the formation of a “Jamaica” coalition - nicknamed as the parties’ traditional colours mirror the Jamaican flag.

    It would have meant forging a coalition between between Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the FDP and the Green party.

    But FDP leader Christian Lindner walked away from the talks and told reporters: “Today there was no progress but rather there were setbacks because targeted compromises were questioned.” 

    Merkel was weakened after the election as voters angry with her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to more than a million asylum seekers punished her conservatives by voting for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) far-right party.

    There is little appetite for a second vote, especially as the main parties fear that the populist AfD would win more than the almost 13 per cent of votes it secured in September.

    Failure to form a government in Europe’s largest economy could have implications for everything from euro zone reforms to European Union policy on Russia and Turkey.

    Merkel has used her power to broker compromises on Greece within the single currency bloc and to keep in place EU sanctions against Russia over its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.


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    Talks among four German parties seeking to form a coalition government after an election that weakened Chancellor Angela Merkel broke down after the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) pulled out, citing irreconcilable differences. The decision by the FDP means that Merkel’s conservative bloc will either seek to form a minority government with the Greens or a new election will be held. Other options for Merkel would be attempting to continue her current coalition with the Social Democrats, which that party has said it will not do. “Today there was no progress but rather there were setbacks because targeted compromises were questioned,” FDP leader Christian Lindner told reporters. The hope following elections in September was for the formation of a “Jamaica” coalition - nicknamed as the parties’ traditional colours mirror the Jamaican flag. It would have meant forging a coalition between between Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the FDP and the Green party following. The poll saw the radical right-wing party AfD capture 13 per cent of the vote, enough to enter the German parliament for the first time, and the talks have seen the CDU, the CSU and the FDP wrestle to take the toughest line on immigration.

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    The government has announced a new £1.7bn pot of investment to improve transport and encourage growth in the UK’s city regions.

    Theresa May also revealed plans to boost spending on research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 as part of her industrial strategy, aimed at creating “high-paying jobs of the future”.

    Writing in The Times on Monday, the PM said: “One of my first actions as prime minister was to begin the development of a modern industrial strategy that will help businesses to create high-quality, well paid jobs right across the country.

    “This is a new long-term approach to shaping a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come.

    “It helps young people to develop the skills they need to take up the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.

     “Our industrial strategy will propel Britain to global leadership of the industries of the future, seizing the big opportunities of our time – from artificial intelligence and big data to clean energy and self-driving vehicles.”

    Theresa May and Philip Hammond will visit the West Midlands together on Monday.

    The announcement comes ahead of May’s visit to the West Midlands - which is set to benefit from an extra £250 million specifically for transport links as part of the autumn budget - along with chancellor Philip Hammond and business secretary Greg Clark.

    Hammond revealed on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that he will test out a driverless car while in the region - and that he wants to see autonomous vehicles on the UK’s roads by 2021.

    The government will also launch its industrial strategy white paper next Monday, in which it will announce four ‘Grand Challenges’ that reflect global trends and highlight industries where it believes the UK has “an edge”; artificial intelligence and the data economy; clean growth; healthy ageing; and the future of mobility.

    Clark says the government wants to attract “the best and brightest talents, from Nobel prize winners to ambitious graduate students” to the UK.

    Experts have previously warned the country could experience a ’brain drain post-Brexit, with the most talented innovators opting to deploy their skills elsewhere.

    The business secretary added: “Through our industrial strategy we are committed to building a knowledge and innovation-led economy and this increase in R&D investment is a landmark moment for the country.

    “The UK is a world leader in science and innovation. By delivering this significant increase as part of our industrial strategy, we are building on our strengths and working with business to ensure that UK scientists and researchers continue to push the boundaries of innovation.”

    Business secretary Greg Clark.

    The new £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund will address weaknesses in city transport systems to help raise productivity and spread prosperity. It will fund new local links and make it easier to travel between city centres and suburbs.

    Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, metro mayors for Merseyside and Greater Manchester, have called for more investment in public transport in their respective regions - but it is not yet clear how the new pot of money will be divided.

    Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Investment in transport is crucial to a strong and resilient economy. The Transforming Cities Fund will drive productivity and growth in cities where this is most needed, connecting communities and making it quicker and easier for people to get around.

    “We have already seen the impact of better integrated transport links for both passengers and the local economy in cities like Nottingham and Manchester. This new fund will enable more English cities to reap these benefits, helping to deliver the opportunities and ambition of the industrial strategy across the country, as well as driving forward the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.” 

    Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Labour’s shadow minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, said the announcement was “too little, too late” and that considerably more was still being spent on transport in London and the south east than the rest of the country.

    She said Britain should be aiming to be above averages on research and development spending calculated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    “To radically transform the transport infrastructure of the UK, we need more than the Conservatives are offering,” she added.

    “The next Labour government will provide the urgent investment our country needs by spending 3% of GDP on R&D by 2030, and will harness the £250 billion National Transformation Fund to update our infrastructure and capital equipment, including transport.”


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    Brexit is already costing families hundreds more every year, according to experts.

    A Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) report has analysed how the referendum vote has impacted inflation, wages and living standards ahead of the autumn budget on Wednesday.

    It shows UK households are already paying a high economic price and that Brexit is costing the average household £7.74 per week through higher prices – equivalent to £404 a year.

    Higher inflation has also reduced the growth of real wages - and the impact of price increases is equivalent to a £448 cut in annual pay for the average worker. 

    Report co-author Dr Holger Breinlich, of the University of Nottingham, said: “Our findings show that the Leave vote has led to a sharp increase in inflation. At a time of growing disenchantment with austerity, this is clearly unwelcome news for living standards across the UK.”

    Shopping is costing families more post-Brexit, experts say.

    According to the data gathered, households at all income levels and in all UK regions have been affected. The costs have been evenly shared across the income distribution, but not across regions, with the rise in inflation lowest for households in London, while Scotland, Wales and especially Northern Ireland have been worst hit.

    The largest inflationary effects are for product groups with high import shares, including bread and cereals; milk, cheese and eggs; coffee, tea and cocoa; beer; wine; furniture and furnishings and jewellery, clocks and watches.

    The report concludes the referendum result was “an unanticipated shock to the UK economy that increased uncertainty and reduced the expected future openness of the UK to trade, investment and immigration with the EU”.

    Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a supporter of the Open Britain campaign against hard Brexit, said: “Working families across Britain are already feeling the effects of the Brexit squeeze. The collapse in the value of the pound after the referendum has increased inflation and caused the price of vital goods to soar ahead of wage growth. And we have seen growth slow, car sales fall, and companies already begin to move jobs out of the UK.

    Chuka Umunna said nobody "voted to be worse off".

    “Brexit is making people worse off right now. Leave campaigners and government ministers have repeatedly promised that Britain will not be left worse off by leaving the European Union, but families are feeling the pinch now – imagine how much worse it will be if Britain undergoes the hard and destructive Brexit ministers are aiming for.”

    Umunna added that those who voted Leave did not “vote to be worse” off.

    “The British public have a right to look at the new facts that are emerging and keep an open mind about whether this is really the best option for our country,” he said.

    Dr Dennis Novy of the University of Warwick, who also contributed to the report, said the research was not a Brexit forecast.

    He added: “It is about the costs of Brexit that have already materialised. Households all across the country are hit by higher inflation – without matching pay rises. The increase in inflation can be directly traced back to last year’s referendum when the sterling exchange rate dropped sharply.”

    BEIS select committee chair Rachel Reeves says the UK's aerospace industry is also facing extra costs.

    On the same day, Parliament’s business, energy and industrial strategy select committee has also published written evidence submitted to its Brexit inquiry on the aerospace industry. 

    Experts including Boeing, Airbus, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Unite the Union say its impact may see the sector also forced to contend with huge extra costs.

    Committee chair and Labour MP Rachel Reeves said: “The evidence we have received suggests the impact of Brexit and increased customs checks could mean a potential £1.5bn in added costs for the UK aerospace sector.   

    “That is extremely worrying and risks making our aerospace industry less competitive and driving up costs at a crucial time for our economy. The extra costs could have a negative impact on future investment decisions. 

    “Our committee is keen to hear from the industry what it wants from the government to ease their uncertainties and ensure the smoothest possible transition as we leave the EU.”

    The submissions were published ahead of the committee’s public evidence session on Tuesday, when MPs will consider how different scenarios relating to future customs and trading arrangements might affect aerospace in the UK, and consider what the government should be seeking to achieve in negotiations. 


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    Rachel Reeves says laws must be tightened to prevent exploitation of workers.

    MPs have called for a change in the law to prevent companies exploiting workers.

    The work and pensions and business, energy and industrial strategy select committees have published a joint report and draft Parliamentary bill aimed at closing loopholes which members say allow companies - including Uber and Deliveroo - to use “bogus self-employment status as a route to cheap labour and tax avoidance”.

    They want laws to be tightened to reflect problems within the gig economy and say willingness by companies to take advantage of workers must not be allowed to become “a competitive advantage”.

    DWP committee chair Frank Field said: “The two committees are today presenting the prime minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy. The bill would put good business on a level playing field, not being undercut by bad business.

    “It is time to close the loopholes that allow irresponsible companies to underpay workers, avoid taxes and free ride on our welfare system.” 

    Frank Field wants to end 'mass exploitation of workers'.

    The committees want the government to rule out any changes to legislation that would undermine the national minimum and living wage, as well as end loopholes which allow agency workers to be paid less than permanent staff.

    They also want companies to either guarantee workers a set number of hours each week, or compensate them for uncertainty.

    Rachel Reeves, chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, said: “Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce but currently all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers. This must change. We say that companies should pay higher wages when they are asking people to work extra hours or on zero-hours contracts.

    “Recent cases demonstrate a need for greater clarity in the law to protect workers. Responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses. We need new laws but also much tougher enforcement, to weed out those businesses seeking to exploit complex labour laws, and workers, for their competitive advantage.”

    Deliveroo says it wants to offer riders better benefits.

    Under current laws, employers need only fear an inspection of their labour practices “once every 500 years” - and receive relatively small fines if they are found to be breaking the law.

    MPs want to see enforcement bodies equipped with more resource - paid for by a significant increase in fines for offending employers - to root out bad practice.

    A spokesperson for Deliveroo told HuffPost UK its riders are self-employed “for one reason only” - because they enjoy the flexibility it offers.

    “The recent legal judgement which confirmed their self-employed status was a huge victory for riders, as it protects the flexibility of being able to work where and when they want,” they added.

    “Riders make on average £9.50 an hour with Deliveroo, well above the National Living Wage.”

    The company said it also wants to offer its workers injury and sick pay, but are prevented from doing so by current laws, which would call into question their self-employed status.

    The spokesperson added: “Deliveroo has called on the government to update legislation so we can continue to offer well paid work that is extremely flexible, alongside more security for our riders.”


    0 0

    The government has announced a new £1.7bn pot of investment to improve transport and encourage growth in the UK’s city regions. Theresa May also revealed plans to boost spending on research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 as part of her industrial strategy, aimed at creating “high-paying jobs of the future”. Writing in The Times on Monday, the PM said: “One of my first actions as prime minister was to begin the development of a modern industrial strategy that will help businesses to create high-quality, well paid jobs right across the country. “This is a new long-term approach to shaping a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come. “It helps young people to develop the skills they need to take up the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.  “Our industrial strategy will propel Britain to global leadership of the industries of the future, seizing the big opportunities of our time – from artificial intelligence and big data to clean energy and self-driving vehicles.” The announcement comes ahead of May’s visit to the West Midlands - which is set to benefit from an extra £250 million specifically for transport links as part of the autumn budget - along with chancellor Philip Hammond and business secretary Greg Clark. Hammond revealed on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that he will test out a driverless car while in the region - and that he wants to see autonomous vehicles on the UK’s roads by 2021. The government will also launch its industrial strategy white paper next Monday, in which it will announce four ‘Grand Challenges’ that reflect global trends and highlight industries where it believes the UK has “an edge”; artificial intelligence and the data economy; clean growth; healthy ageing; and the future of mobility. Clark says the government wants to attract “the best and brightest talents, from Nobel prize winners to ambitious graduate students” to the UK. Experts have previously warned the country could experience a ’brain drain post-Brexit, with the most talented innovators opting to deploy their skills elsewhere. The business secretary added: “Through our industrial strategy we are committed to building a knowledge and innovation-led economy and this increase in R&D investment is a landmark moment for the country. “The UK is a world leader in science and innovation. By delivering this significant increase as part of our industrial strategy, we are building on our strengths and working with business to ensure that UK scientists and researchers continue to push the boundaries of innovation.” The new £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund will address weaknesses in city transport systems to help raise productivity and spread prosperity. It will fund new local links and make it easier to travel between city centres and suburbs. Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, metro mayors for Merseyside and Greater Manchester, have called for more investment in public transport in their respective regions - but it is not yet clear how the new pot of money will be divided. Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Investment in transport is crucial to a strong and resilient economy. The Transforming Cities Fund will drive productivity and growth in cities where this is most needed, connecting communities and making it quicker and easier for people to get around. “We have already seen the impact of better integrated transport links for both passengers and the local economy in cities like Nottingham and Manchester. This new fund will enable more English cities to reap these benefits, helping to deliver the opportunities and ambition of the industrial strategy across the country, as well as driving forward the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.” Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Labour’s shadow minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, said the announcement was “too little, too late” and that considerably more was still being spent on transport in London and the south east than the rest of the country. She said Britain should be aiming to be above averages on research and development spending calculated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “To radically transform the transport infrastructure of the UK, we need more than the Conservatives are offering,” she added. “The next Labour government will provide the urgent investment our country needs by spending 3% of GDP on R&D by 2030, and will harness the £250 billion National Transformation Fund to update our infrastructure and capital equipment, including transport.”

    0 0

    MPs have called for a change in the law to prevent companies exploiting workers. The work and pensions and business, energy and industrial strategy select committees have published a joint report and draft Parliamentary bill aimed at closing loopholes which members say allow companies - including Uber and Deliveroo - to use “bogus self-employment status as a route to cheap labour and tax avoidance”. They want laws to be tightened to reflect problems within the gig economy and say willingness by companies to take advantage of workers must not be allowed to become “a competitive advantage”. DWP committee chair Frank Field said: “The two committees are today presenting the prime minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy. The bill would put good business on a level playing field, not being undercut by bad business. “It is time to close the loopholes that allow irresponsible companies to underpay workers, avoid taxes and free ride on our welfare system.” The committees want the government to rule out any changes to legislation that would undermine the national minimum and living wage, as well as end loopholes which allow agency workers to be paid less than permanent staff. They also want companies to either guarantee workers a set number of hours each week, or compensate them for uncertainty. Rachel Reeves, chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, said: “Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce but currently all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers. This must change. We say that companies should pay higher wages when they are asking people to work extra hours or on zero-hours contracts. “Recent cases demonstrate a need for greater clarity in the law to protect workers. Responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses. We need new laws but also much tougher enforcement, to weed out those businesses seeking to exploit complex labour laws, and workers, for their competitive advantage.” Under current laws, employers need only fear an inspection of their labour practices “once every 500 years” - and receive relatively small fines if they are found to be breaking the law. MPs want to see enforcement bodies equipped with more resource - paid for by a significant increase in fines for offending employers - to root out bad practice. A spokesperson for Deliveroo told HuffPost UK its riders are self-employed “for one reason only” - because they enjoy the flexibility it offers. “The recent legal judgement which confirmed their self-employed status was a huge victory for riders, as it protects the flexibility of being able to work where and when they want,” they added. “Riders make on average £9.50 an hour with Deliveroo, well above the National Living Wage.” The company said it also wants to offer its workers injury and sick pay, but are prevented from doing so by current laws, which would call into question their self-employed status. The spokesperson added: “Deliveroo has called on the government to update legislation so we can continue to offer well paid work that is extremely flexible, alongside more security for our riders.”

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    Brexit is already costing families hundreds more every year, according to experts. A Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) report has analysed how the referendum vote has impacted inflation, wages and living standards ahead of the autumn budget on Wednesday. It shows UK households are already paying a high economic price and that Brexit is costing the average household £7.74 per week through higher prices – equivalent to £404 a year. Higher inflation has also reduced the growth of real wages - and the impact of price increases is equivalent to a £448 cut in annual pay for the average worker. Report co-author Dr Holger Breinlich, of the University of Nottingham, said: “Our findings show that the Leave vote has led to a sharp increase in inflation. At a time of growing disenchantment with austerity, this is clearly unwelcome news for living standards across the UK.” According to the data gathered, households at all income levels and in all UK regions have been affected. The costs have been evenly shared across the income distribution, but not across regions, with the rise in inflation lowest for households in London, while Scotland, Wales and especially Northern Ireland have been worst hit. The largest inflationary effects are for product groups with high import shares, including bread and cereals; milk, cheese and eggs; coffee, tea and cocoa; beer; wine; furniture and furnishings and jewellery, clocks and watches. The report concludes the referendum result was “an unanticipated shock to the UK economy that increased uncertainty and reduced the expected future openness of the UK to trade, investment and immigration with the EU”. Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a supporter of the Open Britain campaign against hard Brexit, said: “Working families across Britain are already feeling the effects of the Brexit squeeze. The collapse in the value of the pound after the referendum has increased inflation and caused the price of vital goods to soar ahead of wage growth. And we have seen growth slow, car sales fall, and companies already begin to move jobs out of the UK. “Brexit is making people worse off right now. Leave campaigners and government ministers have repeatedly promised that Britain will not be left worse off by leaving the European Union, but families are feeling the pinch now – imagine how much worse it will be if Britain undergoes the hard and destructive Brexit ministers are aiming for.” Umunna added that those who voted Leave did not “vote to be worse” off. “The British public have a right to look at the new facts that are emerging and keep an open mind about whether this is really the best option for our country,” he said. Dr Dennis Novy of the University of Warwick, who also contributed to the report, said the research was not a Brexit forecast. He added: “It is about the costs of Brexit that have already materialised. Households all across the country are hit by higher inflation – without matching pay rises. The increase in inflation can be directly traced back to last year’s referendum when the sterling exchange rate dropped sharply.” On the same day, Parliament’s business, energy and industrial strategy select committee has also published written evidence submitted to its Brexit inquiry on the aerospace industry. Experts including Boeing, Airbus, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Unite the Union say its impact may see the sector also forced to contend with huge extra costs. Committee chair and Labour MP Rachel Reeves said: “The evidence we have received suggests the impact of Brexit and increased customs checks could mean a potential £1.5bn in added costs for the UK aerospace sector.  “That is extremely worrying and risks making our aerospace industry less competitive and driving up costs at a crucial time for our economy. The extra costs could have a negative impact on future investment decisions. “Our committee is keen to hear from the industry what it wants from the government to ease their uncertainties and ensure the smoothest possible transition as we leave the EU.” The submissions were published ahead of the committee’s public evidence session on Tuesday, when MPs will consider how different scenarios relating to future customs and trading arrangements might affect aerospace in the UK, and consider what the government should be seeking to achieve in negotiations.