THE UK’s Brexit negotiators were denied water during divorce talks with Brussels as the European Union bosses sought to “get the upper hand”, a civil servant has claimed. The Government source said that officials were not provided with adequate drinking water during Brexit talks – hinting the EU may have been deploying “unsporting tactics”. The civil servant, writing in the New Statesman, said: “Yet the most significant bit of feedback to emerge from the slightly combative early meetings is also perhaps the most elemental one. Water. Or to be precise, the lack of it.” The source suggested that “Johnny Foreigner had clearly attempted some unsporting tactics to get the upper hand”. They added: “This was clearly not a perfectly understandable oversight, but a piece of outright treachery.”
Britain’s Brexit negotiators have been denied water during showdown talks in Brussels as the EU sought to gain a competitive advantage over the UK, a civil servant has revealed. The anonymous official said a lack of water available during talks may have been evidence of “unsporting tactics to get the upper hand”. They also outlined the scale of “paranoia” within the British camp, highlighting fears of phone tapping and a ban on the wearing of smart watches to prevent leaks. The account comes after The Telegraph revealed David Davis is carrying his Brexit documents and electronic equipment in a briefcase fitted with a Faraday cage to protect against hacking. The civil servant, writing in the New Statesman magazine, details their experience of sitting in on meetings between UK officials ahead of negotiations with the EU. But it is the revelation that water may have been withheld by Brussels during talks that is likely to raise eyebrows.
BREXIT secretary David Davis has accused the European Union of trying to shortchange Britons living on the continent and failing to match the UK’s “fair and generous” offer on citizens’ rights. The leading eurosceptic said eurocrats’ controversial plans to restrict the free movement rights of British expats after Brexit did not fit with the lofty sermons on equality emanating from Brussels. EU officials and MEPs have consistently tried to take the high ground on citizens’ rights, loudly preaching that they want to guarantee the status quo for all those affected by the UK’s decision to leave. They have repeatedly promised to observe the principle of reciprocity, meaning that any rights they secure for EU nationals living in Britain will equally be applied to UK citizens on the continent.
The European Union has proposed that Britons living in the bloc after Brexit will only have the right to stay in the country where they are resident when Britain leaves, Brexit minister David Davis said in a letter on Wednesday. The future rights of UK nationals living in the EU and EU nationals living in Britain is one of the issues the bloc wants to settle in the first stage of negotiations. Only then will it move on to talks over the future trading relationship. In a letter updating a committee of lawmakers from Britain’s upper house of parliament on the negotiations, Davis said the EU was only offering restricted residency rights to Britons.
BRUSSELS boss Jean-Claude Juncker’s top official has dropped a massive hint about one of the European Union’s key demands over over its post-Brexit relationship with Britain. German official Martin Selmayr, who is the top eurocrat’s chief of staff, said it was “essential” that EU standards on data protection and privacy are retained by the UK after it has left the bloc. He was reacting to news that the Government is planning to bring British standards on how companies collect and store people’s information into line with new rules proposed by Brussels which are yet to come into force. Mr Selmayr said that ensuring there is no divergence on the issue after Brexit is the only way to ensure a “free flow of data” which will form an essential part of future relations with Brussels.
BRUSSELS boss Jean-Claude Juncker was today slammed for outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money after it emerged he splurged an astonishing £22,500 on a single trip in a private jet to Rome. The EU Commission chief’s actions were branded “outrageous” after it emerged he used a chartered plane for the short two-hour flight from Brussels to the Italian capital. Mr Juncker was visiting the city for an informal meeting with the then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi which had been organised for some time, making it unclear why he could not take a charter flight. Eurosceptic politicians today branded the top eurocrat’s actions “outrageous” and said they demonstrated once more which Britain needs to uncouple itself from the chronic waste of Brussels.
The European Union is facing an expenses scandal after it had to admit that its senior officials had claimed tens of thousands of pounds to hire private jets and stay at luxury hotels. Those embroiled include Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, as well as the head of EU foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini. The figures, published after three years of “Kafkaesque” delays, reveal that EU officials spent more than £90,000 on chartering planes which are described on their expense claims as “air taxis”. The disclosures have echoes of the MPs’ expenses scandal exposed by this newspaper, which led to reforms of the British parliamentary system.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spent 25,000 euros (£22,600) on a private plane to take a nine-person delegation to Rome, campaigners have discovered. The use of the “air taxi” was among almost €500,000 (£451,000) in EU commissioners’ transport and hotel bills during January and February 2016. They were unearthed by Spanish-based Access Info and Belgian magazine Knack. The Commission said the spending was within the EU’s rules. It was also scrutinized annually by the European Parliament, a spokeswoman added. On Mr Juncker’s trip from Brussels to Italy, he held meetings with then-Italian PM Matteo Renzi, the Senate president and the president of the chamber of deputies, among others.
In 2 months last year European Commissioners, the unelected elite that drive forward the EU’s political agenda, spent between them over EUR 500,000. Spanish transparency organisation Access-!nfo has fought for the release of details of EU expenses against classic bureaucratic stonewalling and but they have succeeded in getting some limited release. Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP group in the European Parliament said on the revelation that Commission President Juncker had spent EUR 27,000 alone in those two months: “Outrageous! Juncker spending 27 thousand euro on a private jet at taxpayers’ expense is clearly over the top especially when many normal flights are available. I suppose these junket expenses are all part of the make-believe ‘Brexit bill’ which these Commissioners have plucked out of thin air and trying to extort from our government.”
The cost of chartered flights to transport EU commissioners and their entourages around the world makes up the bulk of the Brussels executive’s travel expenses. After a three-year freedom of information battle by a Spanish campaign group, the EU’s 28-member executive has published travel expenses for the first two months of last year. The figures, stripped of any information that identifies hotels and of itemised receipts, showed that the European Commission spent €492,249 (£444,972) on 261 official trips in January and February 2016, almost €1,900 per trip on average. The most expensive visits involved chartered aircraft and included a trip to Baku in Azerbaijan costing €75,000 by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief.
JEAN Claude Juncker and his fellow European Commissioners went on an “outrageous” half million euro (£450,000) spending splurge on junkets in just two months new figures have revealed. The shocking waste of taxpayers’ money has again underlined why Britain needs to get out of the EU as quickly as possible to stop funding Mr Juncker’s jet set lifestyle. But the revelations have come in a week where it has been revealed that the Government is considering handing between £10 billion and £36 billion extra to the EU after Britain leaves. However, the EU, which is panicking about losing its second biggest contributor, is looking for up to £78 billion from Britain to plug the hole in its finances caused by wasteful spending.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spent nearly £24,000 on a private jet for a one-night trip to Rome, it was revealed yesterday. The visit – funded by EU taxpayers – was just one example of ‘outrageous’ spending as the Commission’s expenses were released for the first time. The claims for the first two months of last year ran to almost £450,000 on 261 official trips – £8,000 per month for each of the 28 unelected commissioners. Campaigners have fought for two years for access to the expenses of the unelected commissioners, but the EU has released just two months’ worth.
Child sexual exploitation
A police chief has urged British communities to do more to shame sexual predators after an 18-strong gang was convicted of crimes against up to 108 girls. In another appalling grooming scandal, a total of 17 men and one woman were convicted of rape, sexual assault, human trafficking and inciting prostitution. Shocking details of the large-scale Asian sex gang operation could be revealed for the first time after reporting restrictions were lifted yesterday. A court heard the group spent four years plying vulnerable young girls with drink and drugs at ‘sex parties’ in Newcastle. Older men preyed on immature teenagers who were plied with cocaine, cannabis, alcohol or mephedrone (M-Cat), then raped or persuaded into having sexual activity at parties known as ‘sessions’.
ONE of the men involved in a sex party ring where it was suspected under-age girls were fed drugs and abused once said: “All white women are good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash.” The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard Badrul Hussain made the extraordinary outburst to a ticket collector on the Tyne and Wear Metro. Hussain, 37, of Drybeck Court, Newcastle, was convicted of allowing drugs to be used at his premises and of supplying drugs. He was cleared of inciting prostitution for gain. Earlier it was revealed, cops paid a convicted child rapist almost £10,000 to spy on the parties, a court heard.
Sometimes, she felt like a baton in a relay race, passed from man to man for her drugged body to be used as each saw fit. The girl described being collected from a children’s home and taken to parties at flats and houses where men, up to seven at a time, awaited their sport. They fed her cocaine and mephedrone, she said, then queued to take their turn. She was 13. Her story was one among many bleak accounts of lost lives in the back streets of Newcastle upon Tyne that were shared with juries in trials that formed part of the northeast’s largest criminal inquiry into sexual exploitation.
A gang who plied young girls and vulnerable women with drugs and alcohol, before raping and sexually abusing them at parties, has been convicted in Newcastle. The court heard how older men preyed on their victims, often conning them into believing they were in a relationship with their abuser who would then pass them round their network to be used for sex. In a series of trials at Newcastle Crown Court, a total of 17 men and one woman were convicted, or pleaded guilty, to a series of charges including rape, supplying drugs and prostitution. Other roles in the conspiracy included providing the premises, supplying drugs, transporting victims, having sex with them or encouraging it to happen.
A girl caught up in the latest child sex gang scandal was taken from her home and repeatedly raped by men as if they were in a ‘relay race’ at one of the ‘parties’. The vulnerable 13-year-old, who was in local authority care, told the court how she would regularly be supplied with cash, cigarettes and drugs in exchange for sex. She spoke of how she would be picked up in a Mercedes from the children’s home where she was living and taken to flats in Newcastle to be used by anyone who wanted her. John Elvedge QC, prosecuting, told the court how during one attack she was high on cocaine while men took turns to have sex with her.
A secret “fire sale” of hospital land – including dozens of properties still being used for medical care – is planned to bail out the cash-strapped NHS, new documents show. The Department of Health has quietly doubled the amount of land it intends to dispose of, triggering accusations of desperate measures to plug a big hole in NHS finances. Details of more than half of the 1,300 hectares now up for sale have been kept under wraps because of “sensitivity” – raising suspicions that many other sites also have clinical uses. The revelation comes after the Naylor review called for the NHS to adopt “a more commercial approach” to selling off assets – branding them a “source of untapped value” – and was embraced by Theresa May to help inject £10bn into the NHS.
Labour has accused the government of selling off valuable hospital assets to help plug a hole in NHS finances. Figures from data body NHS Digital show that the amount of NHS land in England earmarked for sale has more than doubled in the past year. Analysis commissioned by Labour found 117 sites deemed surplus were still in medical or clinical use. Ministers said selling land would give vital funds for patient care and free up space for much needed new housing. The government has set itself a target of selling off enough public sector land to generate £5bn worth of income by 2020.
Hundreds more patients are surviving heart failure thanks to major improvements in NHS care, an independent audit has found. An extra 500 lives were saved last year compared to 2015 as a result of earlier diagnosis and better treatment. Despite the success, researchers from University College London are warning that death rates from heart failure are still far too high. Approximately 9 per cent of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure die and the report says this is unacceptable. Heart failure is a devastating condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump blood around the body.
North Korea declared on Thursday it would have a plan ready by “mid-August” to launch four missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam, as it branded Donald Trump’s threats as “nonsense”. With tensions between the US and Kim Jong-un’s rogue state escalating, critics accused Mr Trump of inflaming the situation with “reckless” sabre-rattling. Dismissing his threats as “a load of nonsense”, the rogue state ridiculed the US president as a “guy bereft of reason” and said only “absolute force can work on him”. The statement from North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom said North Korea would produce a plan to fire four Hwasong-12 rockets more then 2,000 miles over Japan to “hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam”. The plan would be presented to leader Kim Jong-un who would make a decision on whether to proceed.
The Trump administration warned North Korea last night to drop its quest for a nuclear missile capable of reaching the US or face “the end of its regime and the destruction of its people”. James Mattis, the defence secretary, made the remarks as two American B-1B strategic bombers flew close to the Korean peninsula, joined by Japanese fighter jets. The bombers also carried out exercises with South Korean forces. Early today North Korea responded by threatening to fire four intermediate-range missiles into the sea around the Pacific island of Guam, where the US has a large military base. The North Korean army will complete its plans for the launches by mid-August and await the orders of Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader.
Donald Trump has said America’s nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before” as fears grow of a conflict with North Korea. The US President continued his war of words with Kim Jong-un this afternoon as the world holds its breath over a stand-off between the two nuclear-armed countries. President Trump tweeted: “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.… “…Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”
TRIGGER-happy Kim Jong-un is planning simultaneously firing FOUR Hwasong-12 intermediate range missiles at the US territory of Guam by next week. Worrying reports out of North Korea tonight claim the country’s military plan to fire mulitple nuclear-capable missiles at the island – which is home to thousands of American troops. It claims its military will develop a battle plan by “mid-August” to launch four intermediate range missiles at Guam before presenting it to leader Kim Jong-un who will make a decision on whether to proceed, state media said. “The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA (Korean People’s Army) will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” the report said, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the KPA.
A mystic who claims to have accurately foretold Donald Trump’s presidency has predicted the exact date World War 3 will start. Self-proclaimed ‘messenger of God’ Horacio Villegas believes nuclear war will break out on the 100th anniversary of the visitation of Our Lady of Fatima. With the USA and North Korea engaged in a nuclear war of words, amid threats of ‘preventative war’ and a missile attack on Guam, the fears of a new global conflict are more prescient than ever. The clairvoyant claims to have envisioned Trump would win the US election as far back as 2015, according to the Daily Star . He reportedly predicted the billionaire businessman would become the “illuminati king” who will “ bring the world into WW3 ”.
More than one million pensioners would be encouraged to downsize if the Government offered them an exemption on stamp duty, new research has found. Ministers, peers and think tanks are now urging Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, to cut the duty – dubbed a “tax on moving” – in his Autumn Budget. The Telegraph has campaigned for the tax to be reviewed. Baroness Altmann, a Tory peer and former peer, said: “Many older people realise the house they are living in is probably too big for their needs, but the biggest barrier is the cost of moving. Stamp duty acts as a significant deterrent. Anything that the Government can do that will encourage them is beneficial. “That will free up accommodation for growing families and also mean that more people will be able to live independently as they get older.
A UKIP leadership candidate has sparked a backlash by suggesting gay people are more likely to have been abused as kids. David Kurten’s comment is just one of a host of eyebrow-raising views he and a fellow leadership hopeful voiced to ultra-conservative UKIP members. He and John Rees Evans each answered a questionnaire from Support 4 The Family, a subset of the right-wing party devoted to traditional values. Asked whether sexuality is fixed at birth, Mr Kurten was quoted as saying: “Study after study shows that the incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been sexually abused as children.” That original statement, reproduced by PinkNews, is not now on the website and appears to have been replaced with more careful wording.
Two potentially habitable “super-Earths” orbit a star just 12 light years away that is our nearest sun-like neighbour, scientists have discovered. The worlds at the edges of Tau Ceti’s “habitable zone” belong to a solar system of four rocky planets similar in size to Earth. British-led astronomers speculate that the system might be a potential candidate for future interstellar colonisation. But life on the new outposts may be far from peaceful. There is evidence of a massive debris disc circling the star, increasing the chances of the planets being pounded by asteroids and comets. A key aspect of the discovery was the detection of exoplanets with masses as low as 1.7 times the Earth’s, making them the smallest worlds ever spotted around a sun-like star.