Brexit

Express
IN A BOOST for Britain, Brexit Secretary David Davis revealed the final EU divorce deal is 90 per cent complete with less than a year to go before the official deadline, it has been reported. The senior Tory minister was speaking with retired US Army General Stan McChrystal, who leads McChrystal Group leadership consultancy, and confirmed divorce negotiations were proceeding “broadly as expected”. He commented on the progress in negotiations, saying: “Some of it I’m not so certain on, but If I wrote on an envelope to give it to you now I could probably tell you 80-90 per cent of where we’ll end up.”

Sun
TORY veteran David Davis revealed the final exit deal with the EU was almost 90 per cent there – in a bumper boost for Brexit Britain.
The Brexit Secretary said EU leaders realised a deal was in their best interest – but admitted he’d underestimated the Northern Ireland deadlock. The Cabinet minister also accused Sinn Fein of using their “strong influence” to meddle in the negotiations that he said were going “broadly as expected”. Interviewed by retired US Army General Stan McChrystal, who now runs the McChrystal Group leadership consultancy, he said divorce talks were going “broadly as expected”. He said “some of the surprises have been on Northern Ireland” – but he had “a reasonable idea of where we’ll end up”.

Times
The Irish government was accused by David Davis of bowing to political pressure from Sinn Fein yesterday and allowing the party to encourage its hardline stance on Brexit.
The Brexit secretary said that Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, had allowed republican sentiment to play “a strong political role” in Brexit that had made it harder to resolve the impasse over the Northern Irish border. His claims were rejected by Dublin. The row threatens to heighten tensions between the two governments amid talks aimed at resolving the border issue. Five former Northern Ireland secretaries have  written to The Times today to warn that a hard border “could threaten the very existence of the Good Friday agreement”.

Mail
Hillary Clinton has warned that the hand of history will be ‘heavy and unforgiving’ if Brexit is allowed to ‘undermine’ the Good Friday Agreement. 
The former US secretary of state – whose husband Bill helped create the 1998 peace deal, which was signed 20 years ago today – said that reinstating a hard border would be an ‘enormous setback’ that could lead to a return to the ‘bad old days’. Britain and the EU are yet to find a solution to the question of whether there will be a hard border between the UK and Ireland after Brexit.  Progress is due by the summer and failure strike an agreement acceptable to Dublin could scupper hopes of any deal at the crucial October summit. 

Times
The export of live sheep and cows for slaughter abroad could be banned after Brexit following a “call for evidence” on the issue by the government today.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said “all options” for improving the welfare of livestock during transport were being considered, including a ban on live export of animals destined for foreign abattoirs. The government’s farm animal welfare committee has also launched a review into the existing welfare standards for animals during transport.

Independent
The UK has moved towards a ban on exporting live animals for slaughter after announcing a major review of laws regulating their transport.
Environment secretary  Michael Gove said that once Britain leaves the EU, the country could ban the export of thousands of live farm animals to mainland Europe. The policy would enjoy support from campaign groups pushing for a broad ban, amid rising anger over animals suffering terrible health problems and death as they are taken in trucks across the continent. It is also the latest move from Mr Gove to secure the environmental agenda for the Conservatives, following high-profile announcements to tighten animal welfare regulation and tackle plastic pollution.

Child refugees

Times
Nearly two thirds of supposed child refugees who were challenged about their real age after coming to Britain were found to be adults.
An official report shows that in one year 65 per cent of asylum seekers assessed after claiming to be juveniles were judged to be over 18. The report by David Bolt, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, will encourage calls for the introduction of medical checks to verify the ages of asylum seekers, as is the practice in nearly all other European Union countries. The Home Office received 2,952 asylum applications from unaccompanied children in the year to last June. Officials suspected that the individual was lying about his or her age in 705 cases.

Westmonster
Hundreds of supposed unaccompanied ‘child refugees’ who came to Britain have actually been found to be adults, according to a new report from the immigration watchdog.
In a ridiculous state of affairs, two-thirds of those scrutinised turned out to actually be over the age of 18. In the 12 months leading up to June 2017, 2,952 people claiming to be unaccompanied child refugees came to Britain. 705 of those were questioned over suspicions that they were lying about their age. 618 of these cases were resolved and in 402 cases (65%)  they were found to actually be adults.

EU

Mail
The number of Britons becoming citizens of other  EU   countries doubled in the year of Brexit , new figures today reveal.
And the UK’s traditional rival Germany  has beaten France to be named the most popular choice for citizenship. Some  6,555 British nationals became citizens of other member states in 2016 – a rise of 165 per cent on the previous year, according to data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat. Germany was the biggest recipient, with 2,702 Britons taking citizenship there – more than four times the 2015 figure of just 594.  Sweden saw the number double from 453 in 2015 to 978 in 2016.

Independent
The number of Britons taking up EU citizenship of another member state more than doubled in the year of the Brexit referendum, official EU figures show.
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, shows that 6,555 British nationals acquired such citizenship in 2016, up from 2,478 in 2015. Germany was the biggest country for Britons to adopt the citizenship of, with 2,702. France and Belgium followed with 517 and 506 citizens each. Other​ significant beneficiaries of British citizens were Cyprus, Ireland and Italy. “We are seeing a Brexodus of people giving up their passports and rushing to take citizenship in EU countries as Brexit draws near,” Paul Butters, a spokesperson for the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said. “People have done this to give themselves some security.

Mirror
New figures reveal how the number of Brits getting citizenship of another EU country has jumped sharply since the Brexit vote.
6,555 UK nationals gained citizenship of one of the 27 other states in 2016 – more than double any previously recorded figure. More UK nationals became citizens of Germany alone in 2016 (2,702) than won citizenship of all the EU countries put together in 2015 (2,478). Other new homelands of choice for UK nationals were Sweden (978 people), the Netherlands (640), France (517) and Belgium (506). Yet the numbers are still dwarfed by the number of people from the other 27 EU countries gaining citizenship in the UK. Some 17,188 did so in 2016 – up from 12,962 in 2015 and 10,066 the year before. The number was higher in 2014 at 17,602.

Times
The number of Britons granted citizenship of another EU country more than doubled in 2016, new figures show.
A total of 6,555 applications were approved in 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, up from 2,478 in 2015. It is the highest number since records began in 2002, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics body. More than 40 per cent became German citizens, 15 per cent became Swedish and 10 per cent became Dutch. Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said: “The increase in Britons acquiring the nationality of other EU countries is obviously driven by the prospect of Brexit, which is very likely to make UK citizenship much less useful for working, living and travelling elsewhere in the EU.

Sky News
The number of Britons granted citizenship of another EU country more than doubled in the year of the Brexit referendum, according to new figures.
Germany granted the most citizenships to UK nationals in 2016, with more than 2,700, said Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency. Sweden, with 978 people, was the second most-favoured country. Eurostat could not say how many citizenships were issued before or after the June 2016 referendum. The figures show a steadily-rising trend in Britons becoming citizens of other EU countries, with the 2016 figure of 6,555 more than four times higher than in 2007.

Breitbart
Hungary’s conservative-populist premier Viktor Orbán  has won a third term in office in a landslide election victory.
With the votes counted, Europe Elects is sharing stats which show Fidesz, the party founded by Prime Minister Orbán while he was a young anti-Communist  dissident, has won not merely a decisive majority but an outright super-majority, along with minor allied parties — allowing changes to the national constitution. Far-right nationalist party Jobbik came in second place, but leader Gábor Vona has resigned from the party which he has headed since 2006, having promised to do so if he failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Mail
Brexit talks received a boost yesterday as both the Danish and Swedish prime ministers spoke of the need for a good trade deal with Britain.
At a joint press conference with  Theresa May, Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he strongly supported an ‘enhanced’ trade deal with the UK, and hoped to ‘avoid too many changes in our relations’. Later Mrs May joined her opposite number in Sweden, Stefan Lofven, who said he expected trade talks to ‘pick up pace’ and spoke of the need for a ‘broad, deep and constructive relationship in the future’.

Guardian
The EU has accepted that Britain will not be changing its mind on Brexit and may never return to the bloc after next year’s divorce, a leading European commissioner has said, as he warned that the country’s position in the world would be diminished rather than enhanced after its departure.
Phil Hogan, Ireland’s EU commissioner in Brussels, will say on Monday that EU leaders do not expect any substantive change in the UK’s position before article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is invoked in March 2019, even if there is a vote on the Brexit deal in parliament before that deadline. In a speech at a Dublin City University Brexit Institute seminar in Brussels marking half-time in the article 50 negotiations, Hogan will say: “I for one, cannot imagine any circumstances in which the UK will change its mind on the desirability of EU membership – not for many years, if ever.” 

Breitbart
The European Union (EU) accepts the UK is leaving the bloc and will not change its mind, a leading European commissioner has revealed.
Phil Hogan, Ireland’s EU commissioner in Brussels, also threatened that the UK will be a diminished power once it regains its sovereignty after Brexit, in comments made this Monday at a Dublin City University Brexit Institute seminar in Brussels. He acknowledged the UK has “decided to leave the EU, and the UK will revert to third-country status in about 355 days from now… [and] its flag will be hauled down from before the EU’s institutions.”

Labour Party

Mail
Labour was today hit by a fresh anti-Semitism row today after it emerged one of the party’s minorities officers posted images comparing Israel to the Nazis.
Dorian Bartley, an officer with Labour’s Gipsy Hill branch in south London, also shared posts which accuse the Government of pedaling anti-Russian news. And he shared a post defending the mural which sparked the recent protests against Jeremy Corbyn – contradicting the Labour leader who admitted it was.

Sun
JEREMY Corbyn has finally vowed to “root out” anti-Semites within Labour as he admits Jews have been made unwelcome in the party.
The opposition leader tried to shake off the crisis engulfing his party by making his strongest comments on the subject yet after hundreds of protesters descended on Labour’s headquarters to demand he takes tougher action yesterday. Mr Corbyn told an audience at the launch of the local election campaign in London that hatred of Jews “has no place whatsoever in society and every one of us has a responsibility to ensure it is never allowed to fester again”.

New party

Mail
The millionaire founder of LoveFilm who is believed to have spent a year secretly working on a new ‘centrist’ party for Britain was today backed by Sir Nick Clegg.
Former investment banker Simon Franks, 46, has gone to ground since the £50million political plan emerged and he was not at his £3.5million London  mansion today. But former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Nick Clegg, who along with Tony Blair believes Brexit can still be stopped, has refused to rule out joining the new party himself.  He admitted it was now ‘highly likely’ a new centrist party could break off to fill a ‘gaping hole’ in politics.

Crime

Telegraph
The true extent of knife crime could be worse than previously thought because police are failing to properly record it, the Home Office has admitted.
The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was published on Monday, 
discloses that police forces in England and Wales do not measure violent knife crime in the same way as other 
offences such as robbery and burglary. It means that the true scale of violence involving knives may have gone 
under-reported for almost a century, after experts confirmed that officers had been measuring other crimes in more detail since 1927.

Syria

Telegraph
President Donald Trump promised on Monday that a  “major decision” would be taken on Syria within the next two days, as a US navy destroyer appeared to be getting in position to attack.
The US commander-in-chief – who last year ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airfield after seeing distressing images of civilians poisoned with sarin – looked poised to act again. “Nothing is off the table,” said Mr Trump, when asked whether he was considering military action.  “We are making a decision with respect to what to do with the horrible attack on  Syria,” he said. “It will be met, and it will be met forcefully.

Mirror
Theresa May today condemned the “barbaric” suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria and said the country’s President Bashar al-Assad and Russia “must be held to account”.
Speaking on a trip to Denmark, the Prime Minister said she had found pictures of children foaming at the mouth “horrific”. “If this is at the hands of the Assad regime it is yet another example of the brutality of that regime,” she said. It came as Donald Trump warned he would make “some major decisions” on Syria in the next 24 to 48 hours. A decision could come by the end of today, Trump said. Both the US President and UK PM refused to rule out military action – with Mrs May saying Britain is “discussing with our allies what action is necessary”.

BBC News
Theresa May has said she “utterly condemns” the “barbaric” alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The PM said if the attack was confirmed as another example of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s brutality, “the regime and its backers including Russia, must be held to account”. Russia has said no evidence of a chemical weapons attack in formerly rebel-held Douma has been found. The US and France threatened a “joint, strong response” to the alleged attack. When asked whether she would recall Parliament over Syria, Mrs May said: “We are working urgently with our allies to assess what has happened and we are also working with our allies on what action might be necessary.”

Times
Theresa May was under pressure from ministers and allies to join a US-led military strike against the Assad regime as France set the pace for retaliation against a suspected chemical attack.
The prime minister said that President Assad and Russia would be “held to account . . . if they are found to be responsible” for the “barbaric” attack in Douma, Syria, in which at least 40 people including children died. As Britain prepared options including the use of Tomahawk missiles, senior figures warned that it risked losing influence in Washington to France if it turned down a request by President Trump to join a retaliatory strike.

Mail
Britain’s Armed Forces are drawing up options for a joint strike with the US on Syrian forces.
Military chiefs were yesterday instructed by ministers to plan for expanded operations against Bashar Assad in the wake of a poison gas atrocity blamed on the dictator. No 10 refused to rule out the Prime Minister recalling Parliament to vote on action but sources said she might be able to go ahead without approval from MPs. Talks are underway across Whitehall on the possibility of bringing back MPs from the Easter recess to debate a response, with insiders saying it was a ‘grey area’ as to whether they were needed. 

Health

Telegraph
Scientists have claimed an important breakthrough in the battle against
Alzheimer’s after neutralising the most significant gene responsible for the disease for the first time. A team in California successfully identified the protein associated with the high-risk apoE4 gene and then manage to prevent it damaging human neuron cells. The study could open the door to a potential new drug capable of halting the disease, however the researchers have urged caution because so far their compound has only been tried on collections of cells in a laboratory.

Times
Tens of thousands of men will be recruited to take part in a £75 million boost to
prostate cancer research ordered by Theresa May to close the funding gap with breast cancer. The prime minister will acknowledge today that the disease is still identified too late for patients to be saved as she promises funds for better diagnosis and treatment. Concern about prostate cancer research has been growing since the condition overtook breast cancer to become Britain’s third most fatal form of the disease,  killing almost 12,000 men a year. In the past 15 years half as much has been spent on prostate cancer research as on breast cancer.

Mail
Theresa May will today unveil a five-year campaign to wage war on prostate
cancer. In a major drive to save thousands of lives a year, she will announce £75million of spending to help spot the disease earlier and improve treatment. The extra £15million a year will take annual research spending to £40million – roughly the amount invested in breast cancer research, which has long had an advantage. And more than 40,000 men will be recruited to take part in one of several key trials to try to find a breakthrough.

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