EU

It seems that bigwigs in the EU have finally realised that they need the Uk more than we need them, says the Express.

PRESSURE was last night mounting on the EU to sign a free-trade agreement with Britain after a report revealed that a “no deal” scenario could cost the bloc more than £500billion.
The shock figure emerged as Brussels looked set to cave in on a key demand to move a financial body out of the City of London and the head of Deutsche Bank was forced to admit a threatened “Brexodus” from the capital had been exaggerated.
The pro-Brexit Economists for Free Trade group forecast that Britain will gain £651billion from walking away from talks, leaving the EU with a £507billion bill.
Sir Patrick Minford, an economic adviser to the Treasury under Margaret Thatcher, used a classic trade model to predict that GDP will spike by nine per cent, amounting to a one-off gain of £180billion, if we leave on March 29, 2019, without a deal.
He predicts that the UK would make an additional £433billion in tariffs imposed on EU producers if we operated under World Trade Organisation rules, because we import more than we export.
That, plus the £38billion we have saved by not paying for the two-year transition period, adds up to a total of £651billion. 

The Independent has a story about British tax havens.

Demands to open up Britain’s shady network of overseas tax havens are set to be used by the EU as leverage to force concessions during Brexit trade talks, The Independent understands.
The European Commission will soon review whether British territories previously left off a Brussels tax haven blacklist should now be added – just as negotiations move on to the all-important future trade deal.
Publicly EU officials say the blacklisting process has nothing to do with Brexit, but separate sources in Brussels told 
The Independent British territories where billions of pounds are stashed will come into play.
One official made clear the EU would “go after” them,  while another said the UK Government must ask itself if it wants to fly in the face of British public opinion on tax avoidance.
EU commissioners in December produced a blacklist of uncooperative tax jurisdictions, in a bid to clamp down on evasion and avoidance, tackle “threats” to members states’ tax bases and take on “third countries that consistently refuse to play fair”.
But the 17 jurisdictions listed included no British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies, despite them being named in earlier EU lists and some being implicated in the Paradise Papers scandal.

Looks like Germany is planning to throw open its doors to migrants again, says Breitbart.

The expected ‘Grand Coalition’ of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats (SPD) have declared the migrant crisis to be “over” and agreed to let in up to 220,000 migrants each year.
The two parties have agreed to allow between 180,000 to 220,000 migrants per year, claiming their plans will control migration in such a way that “a situation like 2015 is not repeated”, 
Die Welt   reports.
Around 1,000 migrants will be allowed into Germany per month as part of the family reunification programme thanks to lobbying by Schulz — a former President of the European Parliament — whose party does not support the current suspension of family reunifications.
Merkel has agreed to fresh legislation which will extend the suspension only until the new proposal can be implemented.

Brexit

Meanwhile, back home, the Prime Minister is planning a big speech, reports the Times.

Theresa May plans to make a speech outlining the government’s Brexit policy in the February parliamentary recess after holding three meetings of her Brexit war cabinet to thrash out a compromise between warring ministers.
Documents seen by The Sunday Times show May has told ministers they will have to agree how the trade talks with the EU should unfold, what a future economic and security partnership will look like and the nature of the rules to create a “level playing field” with Brussels when they meet this week.
In meetings held before Christmas sources say ministers backed four different outcomes of the Brexit negotiations.

Remainers are still doing their best to thwart Brexit, says the Independent.

Opposition MPs will try to change Theresa May’s  flagship Brexit legislation to guarantee the UK stays in the single market and the customs union.
An amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to prevent the Government from using sweeping powers to take Britain out of the EU agreements has been backed by the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.
The move will be likely to expose deep divisions in Labour’s ranks over membership of the single market, days after Jeremy Corbyn came under fire from pro-EU MPs in his own party for taking the option off the table.
Labour MP Wes Streeting, who has been critical of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, used a speech on Saturday to warn that his party’s Brexit policy “stands as the single biggest barrier to the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union”.
It comes after Mr Corbyn was “empty chaired” at a cross-party summit on single-market membership which he refused to attend due to concerns it was “no more than a political gimmick”.

But the Labour Party will not back the move, says Sky News.

Labour will not back a cross-party effort to keep the UK in the single market and customs union, despite calls from other opposition party leaders for Jeremy Corbyn to join forces with them.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens will collectively back an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill this week.
They say the change to the Bill would prevent ministers being able to take the UK out of the single market and customs union without the approval of Parliament.
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said opposition parties had the power to change the course of Brexit – if Labour backed the move.

Postage stamps

In the Telegraph, Royal Mail has explained why it will not release a special postage stamp upon Brexit.

The day Britain leaves the European Union will not be an “important anniversary”, Royal Mail has said in its first explanation of why commemorative stamps will not be produced.
In a letter seen by the Telegraph, a Royal Mail  executive told MPs that it printed 13 sets of “special stamps” each year, but these only tended to “mark important anniversaries and activities that reflect the UK’s heritage and contribution to the world”.
The national postal service also said that Brexit stamps would damage its “strict political neutrality” during elections and referendums, adding it does not get involved in “political matters”.
Yet critics immediately pointed to the fact that in 1973, when Britain joined the European Economic Community, Royal Mail produced stamps showing a Union-Jack emblazoned UK jigsaw piece slotting into a bigger European puzzle.

Flu

The influenza outbreak continues to spread, says the Telegraph.

More than three million people at high risk of flu have not yet been vaccinated despite the biggest wave of “public fear” since swine flu in 2009, health chiefs have said.
A letter sent to every GP practice in England warns they have just two weeks left in which to vaccinate patients against this winter’s virulent outbreak, which has already claimed 85 lives and is threatening to become an epidemic.
It comes amid concerns large numbers of pregnant women and young adults with asthma are in particular danger because of failure to take up the jab.
Temperatures are set to plummet over the next few days with bookmakers cutting the odds of this winter ending up the coldest on record to 2-1, threatening to exacerbate the problem.
Yesterday The Daily Telegraph revealed patients across the country were being turned away from high street chemists which had run out of the flu vaccine.

And it seems some health workers have not yet been vaccinated, reports the Mail.

Two-thirds of doctors and nurses at some hospitals have ignored official pleas to get themselves vaccinated against flu this winter, risking the lives of vulnerable patients.
Last week, senior doctors warned that not enough  NHS workers are having the jab.
Now an official report shows shockingly low staff vaccination rates at some of the country’s biggest and busiest hospitals.
Only 33.7 per cent of frontline staff at King’s College Hospital in South London – which houses one of the capital’s largest A&E departments – have received the jab this winter.
The figure is 38.3 per cent at nearby Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust.
Hospitals in Brighton, Essex, Northumbria, Cornwall, Harrogate, Wolverhampton, Salisbury and Hertfordshire also have less than half of their staff vaccinated.
Overall, fewer than half of frontline workers have been inoculated against flu at 18 hospital trusts across England, which together run 55 hospitals. 

But there could be a natural protection against the virus, says the Star.

REGULAR sex romps can help you avoid being struck down by the killer flu outbreak, say medics.
That’s because having lots of nookie will stimulate not only your lover but their immune system too.
And that will help your body to produce more of an antibody that is effective in the fight against viruses.
Researchers discovered that sex produces high levels of the infection- fighting Immunoglobulin A.
A study at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that people bedding their partner once or twice a week had 30% more of the chemical than those who didn’t.
And that has now raised the possibility that sex could help control this winter’s outbreak, which has so far claimed 85 lives.
The news comes alongside a bird flu breakout in Dorset, with 17 birds already found to have been affected by the strain.

Tuition fees

University fees could come under review in the coming months, reports the Times.

A review of university funding will be launched before the summer by the new education secretary, Damian Hinds.
The cabinet minister is expected to introduce proposals to slash tuition fees and cut the 6.1% interest rate on student loan repayments.
Options include cutting the annual fee universities can charge from £9,250 to £7,500 and having different fee levels for arts, science and medical degrees.
The move will come as a blow to universities, which are also facing a new “super regulator”. The Sunday Times understands that up to five universities are at risk of losing access to public funding, including government-backed student loan finance, after the regulator — the Office for Students (OfS) — starts work in April, unless they improve.

Trump

The US president is throwing his toys out of the pram, reports the Times.

Donald Trump cancelled a proposed visit to London to open America’s new embassy because he believed he had “not been shown enough love” by the British government, according to a source close to the US president. The decision put paid to a Downing Street attempt to woo Trump with an offer to meet the Queen.
Officials at No 10 were at an advanced stage of planning a visit that might have included a lunch at Buckingham Palace, according to two senior Whitehall sources. Trump is also said to have expressed interest in playing a round of golf at the Queen’s nine-hole golf course on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.

But it seems some of our politicians are in disagreement over the reason for the cancellation, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson and Theresa May have clashed over  Donald Trump‘s cancelled UK visit in a row over the real reason he called off the trip.
Mr Trump claimed he pulled out of the visit because he disagreed with the decision to sell off the old building for ‘peanuts’. But observers suggested he did not want to run the gauntlet of protests.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was among those on the left who commented saying it was clear that Mr Trump had ‘got the message that many Londoners’ did not want him here.
It led to the Foreign Secretary suggesting that Mr Khan had scuppered the visit, branding him a ‘puffed up, pompous popinjay’.
But minutes before, a 10 Downing Street spokesman had insisted that Theresa May did not blame the London Mayor for the cancellation.
Mr Johnson tweeted at about 11am: ‘The US is the biggest single investor in the UK — yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk.
‘We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall.’
Then in a sharp contradiction to Mr Johnson’s suggestions, a spokesman for Number 10 said the ‘special relationship’ had not been damaged by the Mayor’s tweets.
He told The Times: ‘No, the US and the UK are natural, resilient, strong partners and allies, and we do more together than any two countries in the world.’

Bolton

Our leader’s personal life comes under further scrutiny in the Mail.

Scandal-hit Ukip leader Henry Bolton was plunged into a fresh crisis last night after it was revealed that his glamour model girlfriend made racist remarks about Meghan Markle.
Mr Bolton, 54, was already facing calls for his resignation after he left his wife for 25-year-old Jo Marney.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal shocking messages in which Ms Marney says that Prince Harry’s ‘black American’ fiancee will ‘taint’ the Royal Family with ‘her seed’ and pave the way for a ‘black king’.
Ms Marney also says that she would never have sex with ‘a negro’ because they are ‘ugly’.
She was immediately suspended from Ukip last night after The Mail on Sunday alerted party chiefs to her grossly offensive comments.
Our revelations come just days before Bolton is due to face a crunch meeting over his own future with Ukip following outrage over his new relationship. 

The Mirror has the same story.

Ukip leader Henry Bolton’s glamour model girlfriend made a string of racist remarks about Meghan Markle, it’s emerged.
Mr Bolton, 54, is already facing calls to resign after he left his wife for 25-year-old Jo Marney.
The Mail on Sunday revealed shocking messages in which Ms Marney says that Prince Harry’s ‘black American’ fiancee will ‘taint’ the Royal Family with ‘her seed’ and pave the way for a ‘black king’.
Ms Marney also says that she would never have sex with ‘a negro’ because they are ‘ugly’.
She was immediately suspended from UKIP after the newspaper alerted party chiefs to her grossly offensive comments.
Bolton’s wife Tatiana last week told the Sunday Mirror how he had abandoned the family at Christmas to be with his mistress.

The Sun claims the young lady subsequently apologised for her comments.

THE girlfriend of UKIP leader Henry Bolton has been suspended from the party after reportedly making racist comments about Meghan Markle. Jo Marney, 25, whose relationship with the 53-year-old party chief emerged earlier this month, sent texts to a pal that continued offensive comments about Meghan and black people.
Mr Bolton has not commented on the messages but took to Twitter earlier today to deny allegations about their relationship.
A UKIP spokesman confirmed Ms Marney had been suspended from the party.
On her Twitter profile, Ms Marney describes herself as a model, actor and journalist, as well as a Brexiteer.
Ms Marney later apologised “unreservedly” for the “shocking language” she used in the messages.

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