Brexit

Yet another anti-Brexit campaign gets under way today, says the Times.

Nine anti-Brexit groups will join together today to launch a campaign for a new referendum to give the public the final say on Theresa May’s eventual deal with Brussels.
MPs from all the main parties, including the high-profile “remainers” Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry, will escalate their attempt to derail the prime minister’s plans under the banner of “the people’s vote”.
They are due to attend a rally in London alongside Caroline Lucas of the Green Party and celebrities such as the Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart and the comedian Andy Parsons.
Mariana Mazzucato, the favourite economist of the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, will address the meeting of more than 1,000 supporters.

And the Mail claims the campaign is to press for a second referendum.

A new cross-party campaign to give the nation a chance to accept or reject Theresa May’s final  Brexit deal will be launched by Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry today.
They will team up with fellow pro-Europe supporters at a rally in London aimed at stopping what they say is the threat of a disastrous ‘hard Brexit’ being forced on the people of the UK.
Umunna and Soubry’s shared opposition to Brexit has seen them emerge as an unlikely Labour-Conservative double act.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday at the Commons, they said they were adamant that their campaign for a ‘People’s Vote’ (they refuse to call it a second referendum, presumably to avoid cries of ‘not another one’) is not just another attempt to stop Brexit altogether.
‘Going round shouting “Stop Brexit!” won’t achieve anything,’ says Umunna. But isn’t that exactly what they will be doing today?
‘No,’ they reply as one.

The Express claims there will definitely not be a second referendum.

A SECOND EU referendum will almost certainly never happen, it has been claimed, as even diehard Remainers lose faith in the campaign and the clock ticks down towards Britain’s exit date.
Ever since the historic vote to leave the EU, some Europhiles in the UK have insisted there should be another national poll on the final deal.
But repeated legal challenges have failed to halt the process and, so far, only the flagging Lib Dems under Vince Cable have formally backed the idea.
And King’s College London’s Professor Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe research group, said a second Brexit referendum was now highly unlikely.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s very, very hard to see how we get from where we are now to a second referendum.
“There are always fixes but whether or not that a political will to do this, on the basis of the way Parliament has been voting, then no there isn’t.”

Breitbart has a story about the refusal of the European Union to discuss trade.

The European Union (EU) has rebuffed the UK’s Brexit secretary and insisted there will be no ambitious trade talks with the bloc before the Brexit date in less than a year.
“There will be no negotiation strands, no ‘hundreds’ of British negotiators,” a diplomat for the bloc told 
The Telegraph, referring to David Davis’s proposal for intensive talks in the near future.
The source added: “Trade negotiations will not start properly until after 29 March 2019. Before that we must get the fundamentals right.”
The report comes as a leading London Accountancy firm, PwC, predicts that a so-called “hard Brexit” outside the bloc’s Single Market is the most likely outcome of Brexit talks.
Mr. Davis had been pushing a large British trade delegation, in an attempt to make quick progress in trade talks.

The Independent claims the Prime Minister will be facing a battle in Parliament this week.

The government is bracing itself for defeats in parliament on Brexit this week, including over its plans to take the UK out of a customs union with the EU.
Ministers have resigned themselves to the fact that the House of Lords will almost certainly pass amendments backed by Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat peers aimed at forcing Theresa May
to rethink her position.
Sources in the upper house told 
The Independent  the only way she can realistically avoid a defeat is by making significant concessions, including one softening her approach to an EU customs union that is likely to enrage Tory Brexiteer MPs.
It comes as a new broad campaign for a “people’s vote” referendum on the final Brexit deal holds a rally in London on Sunday, following a day of action on Saturday involving thousands of activists across the country.

Europe

And a new EU movement is looking to reform the bloc says the Express.

A NEW pan-European movement led by radical ex-Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis plans to campaign in post-Brexit Britain alongside Labour, despite the fact the country will no longer be in the EU.
Mr Varoufakis caused huge controversy during his brief six-month tenure in Athens during which he raged against the heavily indebted nation’s creditors.
And he now heads up a fresh political movement, named DiEM25, with the intention of reforming the EU.
Supporters of the group include ambient music leftie Brian Eno, embassy-bound Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and UK Green Party co-leader Carline Lucas.
And the movement has ambitious aims to set up new parties across the continent, while supporting others that are sympathetic to its aims and fielding candidates in next year’s European elections.

Russia

Russia is planning to retaliate against the UK over the air strikes says the Times.

Spy chiefs are braced for a Russian revenge attack in which Kremlin-backed hackers release embarrassing information on ministers, MPs and other high-profile people.
Theresa May has received intelligence risk assessments since the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury that the Putin regime could hit back with “kompromat” (compromising material) on members of her cabinet.
The warning comes after the UK’s military strike in Syria yesterday. British, American and French aircraft and warships fired a salvo of 105 missiles in less than 10 minutes at about 2am British time after up to 75 people were killed in last weekend’s chemical attack on Douma.

The Star claims the retaliation could be in the form of a cyber attack.

FEARS of a Russian cyber backlash targeting vital services in Britain have grown, following the joint assault on Syria on Friday night.
Transport links, water supplies, gas networks, banks, hospitals and air traffic control could be crippled by the Kremlin it a terrifying retaliation for the missile strikes, according to reports.  
Experts believe hackers in Moscow are already trying to break into key computer networks that could bring the UK’s infrastructure to a halt.
British academic Michael Clarke, who specialises in defence studies, has warned of an imminent “cyber warfare” in the next two or three weeks.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he said: “I suspect Russia will choose not to respond in military terms. But cyber warfare is highly likely.

Anti-Muslim campaigners

Is it right that campaigners should be refused entry into the UK because of their views? The Guardian reports.

Two prominent anti-Muslim campaigners have been denied entry into the UK ahead of a conference held by Britain’s newest and most active far-right group.
Martin Sellner, from Austria, and the Hungarian Abel Bodi were due to attend the private Generation Identity conference in London on Saturday. They were detained at Stansted airport – the second time in a month that Sellner, the leader of Generation Identity, has been prevented from entering the UK by border officials.
Sellner, 29, was also the ringleader behind a controversial “Defend Europe” campaign last summer, responsible for targeting boats  attempting to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.
Lauren Southern, a prominent Generation Identity activist who was refused entry to the UK at the border last month, confirmed the latest developments. She tweeted: “Martin Sellner has been detained as well as Hungarian identitarian Abel Bodi who were scheduled to attend a private conference in the UK.”
The event, being held at a closely guarded location, was arranged by Generation Identity United Kingdom and Ireland (GI UK), which has emerged over the past few months as the domestic branch of an expanding far-right network active in 13 countries.

Health

The cost of private medical insurance is examined in the Times.

Private medical insurance customers face a postcode lottery with Londoners paying nearly twice as much as those who live in Newcastle, research reveals today.
A 50-year-old non-smoker who lives in the capital is being charged an average of £128 for a monthly premium. Those in Newcastle typically pay £69, while customers in Edinburgh pay £70 and Glas­wegians £74, according to the report from the broker Regency Health.
James Walker, founder of the complaints service Resolver, said it was “deeply unfair” that the costs varied so hugely: “Private medical insurance can be incredibly expensive, so it seems deeply unfair that bills can be twice as high for people living in London.”

And the Times also warns that if you sign up for a private GP consultation your family doctor may strike you off his list.

Patients who sign up for a new service that promises an NHS doctor “in minutes” on their smartphone day or night are being cut off from their usual family doctor.
Tens of thousands of people have downloaded the GP at Hand app, which offers remote consultations with doctors. It is part of a new wave of online services backed by the NHS.
When users sign up in an online process that takes three minutes, they are removed from their GP’s books and registered to a practice in west London.
Babylon Health, the company behind the app, says users are notified of the move in a “prominent disclaimer” during sign-up.

Genetically modified PEOPLE could be on the cards, says the Telegraph.

Europe will see its first genetically engineered patients using a groundbreaking gene-splicing therapy this year after regulators approved trials.
The biotech company Crispr Therapeutics is hoping to cure the disease beta thalassaemia, a devastating blood disorder which reduces the production of haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen to cells.
Without sufficient oxygen, sufferers can be left with bone deformities, severe anaemia, slow growth, fatigue and shortness of breath.
The disease is caused by a genetic mutation in the HBB gene, but scientists are confident that they can alter the body’s code to fix the problem and restore healthy levels of haemoglobin.

The Times reports that children are being given contraceptives.

Girls as young as 12 are among more than 10,000 children being given contraceptive implants on the NHS.
Figures from NHS Digital — the information and technology arm of the NHS — show 10,600 girls aged 16 or under had implants fitted in 2015-16 and 2016-17; 39 were aged 12 or under.
The devices, implanted in the upper arm for up to three years, provide a supply of the hormone progesterone to block egg release. Patient confidentiality rules mean no parental consent is needed.
In some areas of the country the devices are being fitted in schools. This has sparked criticism that the NHS is enabling young girls to have illegal, underage sex without their parents’ knowledge, exposing them to the risk of exploitation.

UKIP

Several of the media report the unopposed election of Gerard Batten as the UKIP leader. Sky News says:

UKIP has confirmed it has a new leader – its fifth since Nigel Farage stepped down in late 2016.
Gerard Batten, who ran unopposed in the election to replace Henry Bolton, announced he had taken over the role officially on Saturday.
Mr Bolton, 55, was ousted from the leadership following 
a scandal over his affair with 25-year-old model Jo Marney.
Mr Batten, who is also UKIP’s MEP for London, said he would now concentrate on restoring the “party’s fortunes” after it saw its vote share in the polls slip from a high of more than 25% in the European elections in 2014 to less than 2% in 2017.

But ITV News finds a negative aspect in the news.

Ukip’s new leader announced he intends to resign in 12 months as he was installed in the post after an uncontested election.
Gerard Batten said he will spend the next year trying to restore the party’s fortunes after a tumultuous period that has seen it implode with bitter infighting and stretched by financial struggles.
The London MEP warned that the Eurosceptic party needs to get “back into the political fight” as the local elections in England approach.
Mr Batten said: “As I said at the start of the contest, if the election were to be uncontested, I would hold office for 12 months.
“Therefore, I intend to resign on 13th April 2019 so that a full leadership contest may take place. By then I will have decided if I wish to contest that election or not.

As does the Express.

UKIP’s fourth leader in 12 months has announced his plans to quit moments after being elected unopposed.
Gerard Batten, who has been acting UKIP leader since February, said he will resign after spending a year restoring the party’s fortunes following a disastrous period riddled by bitter feuds and money issues.
The London MEP warned that the Eurosceptic party needs to get “back into the political fight” as the local elections in England approach.
He added: “As I said at the start of the contest, if the election were to be uncontested, I would hold office for 12 months.
“Therefore, I intend to resign on 13th April 2019 so that a full leadership contest may take place. By then I will have decided if I wish to contest that election or not.

And BBC News.

UKIP has confirmed Gerard Batten as its new leader – and he has said he will resign in 12 months’ time.
The MEP, who had been interim leader since February. said that as he was elected unopposed he would step down so a full contest can take place.
Mr Batten said he will “concentrate on doing all I can to restore the party’s fortunes.”
He is the fourth person to lead UKIP in 19 months, as the party’s popularity has crumbled since the EU referendum.
He took over from Henry Bolton in February after a racism row saw Mr Bolton ousted from the party.
Mr Batten, who has been an MEP since 2004, said he was “pleased” to have been confirmed as leader.
“UKIP is the only real opposition to our political establishment, and we are needed now as much as ever,” he said.
He added that the party needs to get “back into the political fight” with the upcoming local elections.

The Independent reminds us the election was unopposed.

Ukip‘s new leader announced he intends to resign in 12 months as he was installed in the post after an uncontested election.
Gerard Batten said he will spend the next year trying to restore the party’s fortunes after a tumultuous period that has seen it implode with bitter infighting and stretched by financial struggles.
The London MEP warned that the Eurosceptic party needs to get “back into the political fight” as the local elections in England approach.
Mr Batten said: “As I said at the start of the contest, if the election were to be uncontested, I would hold office for 12 months.
“Therefore, I intend to resign on 13th April 2019 so that a full leadership contest may take place. By then I will have decided if I wish to contest that election or not. For the next 12 months, I will concentrate on doing all I can to restore the party’s fortunes. A very good start has been made and the party is now on a sound financial footing.”

The sea

The Telegraph has a story of what our island nation may be able to do after Brexit.

In the waters of the United Kingdom, centuries of maritime history ebb and flow around almost 8,000 miles of coastline, carefully carving out modern Britain.
From these waves swirled the beginnings of trade, prosperity and empire stretching back into the first decades AD. But from British shores today an economic future beckons that could be just as promising. The economic sea change of Brexit has ushered in the need for new vision that brings together traditional maritime sectors, from oil to shipping and fisheries, with burgeoning renewable energy developers and innovative aquaculture.
Britain’s maritime heritage is quietly being reimagined as the “blue economy”.

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