Time spent frail in old age ‘doubles’

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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The amount of time spent needing daily care at the end of life has doubled in England over the past two decades, a study suggests.

The Newcastle University study found men spent 2.4 years on average needing regular care and women three years.

This includes everything from help with washing and dressing each day to round-the-clock care.

Researchers said it suggested there needed to be a sharp increase in the number of care home places to cope.

It comes as ministers consider a new way to fund the system.

The government has promised major reform amid reports that councils are struggling to provide enough support to cope with the ageing population.

  • Who gets social care and who pays for it?
  • 10 charts that show what’s gone wrong with social care
  • How can social care be funded?

The latest research, published in the Lancet, looked at not just the growth in the numbers of older people but also how many of those years were spent needing daily care.

Between 1991 and 2011, life expectancy increased by more than four years for both men and women to 82.6 and 85.6 respectively.

But the number of those years spent with substantial care needs rose much more rapidly, from 1.1 to 2.4 for men and 1.6 to three for women.

Looking ahead to 2025, it means there will be another 350,000 people with high care needs, the researchers predicted.

Not all of those will need to be in care homes, but the researchers said the number of places would still need to rise by a third to cope.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, from Oxford University, who has advised the government on social care, said the findings suggested spending on older people would need to “increase substantially and quickly”.

Janet Morrison, chief executive of the charity Independent Age, added: “This report is further evidence, if it were needed, that the government must act urgently to put in place a sustainable social care system that is able to meet the demands of an ageing population.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40942531

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Trump again blames Charlottesville violence on both sides

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media caption“What about the ‘alt-left’,” Trump asked

US President Donald Trump has again blamed both sides for the violent unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one protester dead and others injured.

In a statement on Monday, he had condemned white supremacists.

But in New York on Tuesday he also blamed left-wing supporters for charging at the “alt-right”.

His latest comments drew swift criticism, including from many in his Republican party.

Many echoed Senator John McCain’s view: “There is no moral equivalency between racists Americans standing up to defy hate bigotry”.

The right-wing march had been organised to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The event drew white supremacy groups.

Violence broke out after they were confronted by anti-racism groups. A car ploughed into one group of anti-racism protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Bucket of kerosene

Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

On Monday, Donald Trump’s condemnation of the far-right came from advisers counselling him on what was politically necessary to defuse the growing storm following the Charlottesville violence.

On Tuesday, the president said what he really thought.

Although he initially explained away the delay in condemnations of white supremacists as necessary for him to gather “the facts” of the situation, the nature of the protests were quite evident by the evening before, when demonstrators chanting white supremacist slogans held a torchlight parade through Charlottesville.

In any regard, Mr Trump has shown little reluctance in jumping to conclusions about violent incidents when it appears Islamic extremism is at play.

Upon further questioning, it became clear that the president views the Charlottesville unrest as far from a one-sided affair. Mixed in among the white supremacists, he said, were some good, peaceful people protesting the removal of a statue (of a man who led an army against the US government). And there were plenty of violent individuals among the counter-protesters as well.

When the president on Saturday said there were “many sides” to blame, he meant it.

If Donald Trump’s initial handling of the fallout from Charlottesville started a political fire, on Tuesday the president poured on a bucket of kerosene and danced around the flames.

Speaking at the White House on Monday, the US president had said that the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were “repugnant” to everything Americans held dear.

But at a bad-tempered press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, he reverted to blaming “many sides” for Saturday’s violence.

“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” he said.

“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? (…) There are two sides to a story.”

Media captionNine statues have been removed since 2016

He called the driver of the car that ploughed into the anti-racism protesters a disgrace to himself and his country, but said that those who had marched in defence of the statue had included “many fine people”.

He asked whether statues of former presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should also be torn down, because they had been slave-owners.

Lincoln Memorial defaced with profanity

Media captionPhotojournalist Ryan M Kelly was covering the protest when the car ploughed into the crowd

Mr Trump’s remarks were welcomed by David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, who tweeted: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”

Media captionMarissa Blair, friend of Heather Heyer: “It was an act of terror”

But many others strongly condemned the comments.

Of the reactions of some 55 Republican and Democrat politicians collected by the Washington Post, only the spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Kayleigh McEnany, expressed her support.

Skip Twitter post by @kayleighmcenany

End of Twitter post by @kayleighmcenany

Republican Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive… there can be no moral ambiguity.”

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO trade union federation, resigned from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council saying he could not take part “for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism”.

In another development, the response of former President Barack Obama to the violence in Charlottesville has become the most-liked tweet ever.

The message, quoting Nelson Mandela, reads: “No-one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion.”

It has been “liked” nearly three million times since being posted on Sunday.

In his address, Mr Trump defended the time it took to make his statement, saying he wanted to establish all the facts, and he again rounded on journalists at the news conference, saying many of them were writing “fake news”.

He also praised Ms Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, who had thanked him after his earlier statement for his “words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred”.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40943425

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Brexit: UK position paper opposes Irish border posts

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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The future management of the Irish border is one of three main priorities in UK-EU Brexit talks

The government has said it does not want any border posts between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in its new position paper on Brexit.

It suggests a “new customs partnership” or a “highly streamlined customs arrangement”.

Brexit critics have complained that the UK’s proposals lack credible detail on how that aim could be achieved.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that will share a land border with an EU member state post-Brexit.

Media captionFarming on the border

The future management of that border is a highly sensitive issue and is one of three main priorities in UK-EU Brexit negotiations.

The position paper – to be unveiled later – forms part of the government’s negotiations with the European Union, ahead of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019.

It says the government does not want to see any physical infrastructure at the Irish border.

Media captionNorthern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire insists to Today the proposals are realistic

As revealed on Tuesday, Brexit Secretary David Davis wants a limited transition period to implement any new customs arrangements, including considerations relating to the “unique circumstances” of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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The government ruled out suggestions of concentrating border checks at Irish Sea crossings

The government has repeated its desire to maintain the Common Travel Area and the rights of UK and Irish citizens, and to uphold the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Both the UK and Irish governments have repeatedly stated their opposition to a hard border, but the situation is complicated as the UK intends to leave the EU’s customs union.

The position paper sets out two “broad approaches” to future customs arrangements that the UK hopes will help to prevent physical customs posts along the Irish border.

The suggestions are a “new customs partnership” or a “highly streamlined customs arrangement”.

The partnership model would “align” customs approaches between the UK and the EU, resulting in “no customs border at all between the UK and Ireland,” the paper claims.

Media captionOne road crosses the border four times in 10 minutes, but can you spot where the crossings are?

The paper suggests the second, “highly-streamlined” arrangement could include:

  • a continued waiver on submitting entry/exit declarations;
  • continued membership of the Common Transit Convention to help Northern Ireland and Irish companies transit goods
  • a new “trusted trader” arrangement for larger businesses
  • a “cross-border trade exemption” which would mean no new customs processes at all for smaller traders

The paper also dismisses the idea of a customs border in the Irish Sea, saying it would be economically and constitutionally unviable.

It recognises that all this needs to be negotiated with the EU, in the hope that the border between the EU and the UK will be as “seamless” as possible.

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The government has repeatedly said it does not want to go back to the borders of the past

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said he did not accept that the EU would be unwilling to facilitate the government’s proposals.

“If you look at what [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier has said and others within the EU, there is a recognition that there will need to be specific arrangements in relation to customs and other elements in terms of creating that frictionless border,” he said.

“I think there is a shared objective that we have, that the EU has and the Irish government has, in finding that solution.”

An Irish government spokesperson welcomed the position paper as “timely and helpful” as it offers more clarity on the UK’s strategy.

However, they warned: “Protecting the peace process is crucial and it must not become a bargaining chip in the negotiations.”

The spokesperson said leaders in Dublin would analyse the ideas in detail and discuss them with the European Commission and the EU’s Mr Barnier.

Campaigners who oppose Brexit say the re-introduction of a so-called “hard border” would severely damage the Northern Ireland peace process and have a negative economic impact.

UK-Irish trade in numbers

  • £13.6bn worth of goods exported to the Republic of Ireland from Great Britain in 2016
  • £9.1bn worth of goods exported to Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland in 2016
  • £10.7bn worth of goods from Northern Ireland were sold in Great Britain in 2015
  • £2.7bn worth of goods from Northern Ireland were exported to the Republic of Ireland in 2015
  • More than 80% of cross-border trade on the island of Ireland is by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Labour MP Conor McGinn, who grew up in Northern Ireland, accused the government of “vagueness and posturing”.

“These proposals on a light touch border are lighter still on detail,” he said.

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Earlier this year, residents from border communities held a protest at Stormont

“They don’t outline how a frictionless or seamless border can be achieved when the UK leaves the EU and won’t reassure anybody about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.”

Colum Eastwood, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said the government seemed to be “effectively playing for more time”.

“The British government is still not ready, or at least unwilling, to publish serious or credible proposals on Brexit,” he said.

What is the customs union?

Countries in the customs union do not impose tariffs – taxes on imports – on each other’s goods.

Every country inside the union levies the same tariffs on imports from abroad.

So, for example, a 10% tariff is imposed on some cars imported from outside the customs union, while 7.5% is imposed on roasted coffee.

Other goods – such as soap or slate – have no tariffs.

The UK has said it is leaving the EU’s customs union because as a member it is unable to strike trade deals with other countries.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40941393

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Rail fares to rise by up to 3.6%

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 15, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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Millions of rail users in the UK will see a 3.6% increase in regulated rail fares from January 2018.

Train operators can raise fares by as much as the Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure for July. This figure is the highest since 2011, when it was 5%.

Passenger groups said commuters would be worst-hit, and suggested that the RPI measure should be scrapped.

The most widely watched and used figure, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), was unchanged at 2.6%.

The ONS’ James Tucker, said the body was aware of the drawbacks of using RPI as a benchmark: “We know there will be a focus on the RPI this month, but the National Statistician has been clear it is not a good measure and we do not recommend its use.

The rises will affect “anytime” and some off-peak fares as well as season tickets in England and Wales.

In Scotland, it is mainly commuters who will be affected, with off-peak fares rising by a smaller amount.

The Scottish government currently limits rises in off-peak fares to RPI minus 1%.

There are no plans for increases in Northern Ireland.

Unregulated fares, which include super off-peak travel and advance tickets, will be set in December.

Transport Focus, which represents the interests of passengers, said rail users were already fed up with getting poor value for money.

“Wages are not keeping pace with inflation and performance remains patchy,” said a spokesperson for the group.

“Passengers, especially commuters, face potential strike action, the consequences of the continual rise in passenger numbers, and disruption caused by railway upgrades.”

Transport Focus said it would also like to see the RPI measure replaced by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which is typically lower than RPI.

Analysis: Richard Westcott, transport correspondent

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Oh the irony… regulated fares were meant to be the government’s way of stopping private rail firms from overcharging passengers.

They apply to tickets where people don’t have much choice but to go by train: commuting into big cities, for example.

But for many years, ministers have deliberately used the system to put prices up anyway. Why? Because they want passengers to pay a bigger chunk of the rail bill, so that the government pays less.

Fares used to account for about half the cost of running our trains. Today it’s about 70%.

It does mean, of course, that people who don’t commute by train, which is most of the country, pay less to subsidise the system.

But that’s little consolation to workers who’ve faced consistent price rises that have often outpaced their salary. Even allowing for inflation, rail fares have gone up by about 25% since the mid-1990s.

I’ve spoken to many passengers – often young people at the start of their careers – who’re on the brink of changing jobs because they can’t afford the increases.

‘Fairly balanced’

The government said fare increases were justified by improvements to the network.

“We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century to improve services for passengers – providing faster and better trains with more seats,” a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said.

“We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger.”

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said there would be an extra 170,000 seats for commuters by the end of 2019.

The Department for Transport also rejected the idea of using CPI to determine price rises.

It said RPI was used across the rail industry – for example in calculating the cost of running train services.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40922861

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N Korea leader ‘briefed’ on Guam plan but opts to wait

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 15, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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North Korean state media released photos of Kim Jong-un apparently reviewing military documents

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reviewed plans to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam but will hold off, state media said.

Although prepared for “the enveloping fire at Guam”, the North said it would watch what “the foolish Yankees” do before taking a decision.

Last week’s threat against Guam escalated the sharp rhetoric being exchanged between the two sides.

This latest report points to a pause in the increasingly bitter war of words.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in meanwhile has urged the US not to launch an attack on the Korean peninsula without its consent, saying “no one may decide to take military action without the consent” of the South.

What does North Korea’s statement really mean?

The report on state news agency KCNA said Kim Jong-un “examined the plan for a long time” and discussed it with senior military officials.

The commander of North Korea’s strategic force was now merely waiting for orders “after rounding off the preparations for the enveloping fire at Guam”.

But, crucially, the report also said that Mr Kim would watch the US before making any decision, signalling an apparent deceleration in the provocative rhetoric.

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Guam is home to the US Air Force’s Andersen air base

Correspondents say that after days of menacing threats it might seem that Kim Jong-un could be in the mood to finally hit the pause button – but in a nation as secretive as North Korea, one can never be sure.

Analysts say it could simply mean Pyongyang is not fully ready to launch an attack on Guam, so it could just be buying more time.

What are North Korea’s neighbours saying?

South Korea and China – North Korea’s closest ally – have been urging calm and a renewed push for diplomatic resolutions.

On Tuesday South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the US should not act unilaterally. The two countries’ defence agreement states that they must “consult together” when either is threatened.

The meaning behind Moon’s words – Yogita Limaye, BBC News, Seoul

Questions are being raised about whether America would need South Korea’s approval to strike back at North Korea if Guam was attacked.

According to international law, and the military agreement between South Korea and the US, it does not. So why would President Moon say no military action could be taken without Seoul’s “consent”?

Professor Hwee Rhak Park from Kookmin University says it might be a gesture towards liberals in South Korea – who are the president’s main supporters – to show that the government is in control of the situation.

South Korea is often criticised by its northern neighbour for being a puppet of the US, so this could also be a veiled message to America to tone down the rhetoric.

Whatever he means, the South Korean president’s stance has been quite clear from the start. He wants a diplomatic resolution, and has reiterated that he’s open to talks with Pyongyang.

The K-pop concert seeking to broker Korean peace

China’s foreign ministry on Monday reiterated its “suspension for suspension proposal” where North Korea stops its missile tests in exchange for a freeze on military exercises by the US and South Korea.

China imposes N Korea imports ban

Media captionYogita Limaye reports from the “peace concert” which drew large crowds

What is the latest comment from the US?

Defence Secretary James Mattis earlier warned that any attack could quickly escalate into war, and if Pyongyang fired a missile towards Guam, “then it’s game on.”

He told reporters that the US military would defend the country “from any attack, at any time and from any quarter”.

He also sought to reassure residents of Guam, home to US military bases and about 160,000 people, that they were well-protected and if a missile was fired, “we’ll take it out”.

North Korea threats unsettle Guam islanders

The tiny but important island of Guam

  • The 541sq km (209 sq miles) volcanic and coral island in the Pacific between the Philippines and Hawaii.
  • It is a “non-incorporated” US territory, with a population of about 163,000.
  • That means people born in Guam are US citizens, have an elected governor and House Representative, but cannot vote for a president in US national elections.
  • US military bases cover about a quarter of the island. About 6,000 personnel are based there and there are plans to move in thousands more.
  • It was a key US base in World War Two, and remains a vital staging post for US operations, giving access to potential flashpoints like the South China Sea, the Koreas and the Taiwan Straits.

Guam profile from BBC Monitoring

How did tensions escalate so rapidly?

Over the past year North Korea has stepped up its missile tests, despite repeated warnings from all quarters.

The state had already conducted five nuclear tests, but then in July it launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) claiming it now had the ability to hit the US mainland.

The UN then approved fresh economic sanctions against North Korea to pressure it into giving up its nuclear ambitions. The measures aim to reduce North Korea’s export revenues by a third.

Media captionPresident Trump threatened a response ‘like the world has never seen’

Pyongyang reacted furiously to the new sanctions, calling them a “violent violation of our sovereignty” and warning that the US would “pay a price”.

Last week, US media reported that North Korea had achieved its goal of making a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles.

Although not confirmed, this was seen as North Korea overcoming a final obstacle to becoming a fully nuclear-armed state.

It prompted US President Donald Trump to threaten Pyongyang with “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the US and its allies, saying the US nuclear arsenal was “more powerful than ever before” and “locked and loaded”.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40931775

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Brexit: UK suggests ‘temporary customs union’ with EU

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 15, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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The EU’s customs union means members charge the same tariff on goods coming from other countries

The UK has set out the “ambitious new customs arrangement” it wants to secure with the EU after Brexit.

Ministers said the plans would mean the “freest and most frictionless possible trade” with the rest of Europe.

This could include a “temporary customs union” after Brexit to prevent border problems as the UK leaves the EU.

Businesses have called for clarity since the UK said it was leaving the customs union – the EU’s tariff-free trading area – as part of Brexit.

The customs union document is the first of a series of papers to be published by the UK government on key negotiation issues.

On Wednesday it is expected to set out proposals for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

What is the customs union?

Countries in the customs union don’t impose tariffs – taxes on imports – on each other’s goods.

Every country inside the union levies the same tariffs on imports from abroad.

So, for example, a 10% tariff is imposed on some cars imported from outside the customs union, while 7.5% is imposed on roasted coffee.

Other goods – such as soap or slate – have no tariffs.

The UK’s departure from the EU’s customs union was confirmed at the weekend in a joint article by Chancellor Philip Hammond and Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

A ‘streamlined’ border

According to the newly-published government paper, the UK could ask Brussels to establish a “temporary customs union” after it leaves the EU in March 2019.

But during this period, it would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals – something it cannot do as an EU customs union member.

Once this period expires, the UK will look to agree either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU, or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all.

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Brexit Secretary David Davis (left) and the EU Commission’s Michel Barnier are leading the negotiations for the two sides

The government said the interim arrangements would mean businesses would only have to adjust once to the new arrangements.

All of this will have to be negotiated with the EU – and the two sides have not yet even started discussing trade matters.

Other obstacles – including the size of the UK’s “divorce bill” – need to be agreed first.

Brexit secretary’s view

Media captionDavid Davis tells Today Brexit is going “incredibly well”

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, said he envisioned the arrangement being “as close as we can to the current arrangements”.

He told the Today programme that businesses were worried about “the infamous cliff edge” – the UK leaving the EU without replacement trade and customs deals.

“We’ve got a new customs system coming in,” he said. “It will be in a few months before we leave but it would be much more sensible, we think, if there was a shortish period in which we maintain the current arrangements.”

He added that the period should be “something like two years, maybe a bit shorter” but said the transition period had “to be done by the election”, which has to take place by 2022 at the latest.

Mr Davis insisted that the UK could negotiate its own trade deals non-EU countries during that period: “We’re already talking to these countries. We’re just not signing.”

Asked if the European Court of Justice would be the arbiter of the temporary customs union, Mr Davis said “no, we don’t think so”, adding the government would “issue something next week about international arbitration”.

Mixed UK reaction

Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said the proposals were “incoherent and inadequate” and were designed to “gloss over deep and continuing divisions within the cabinet”.

“These fantastical and contradictory proposals provide no guidance for negotiators or certainty for businesses,” he added.

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Labour MP Keir Starmer said the plans were “fantastical”

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said the plan would “only delay the economic pain caused by leaving the customs union”.

“We still face the prospect of more red tape for businesses, longer queues at our borders and higher prices for consumers once the transition comes to an end.”

However, the CBI, which represents British businesses, said the proposal was “encouraging”.

Its deputy director general, Josh Hardie, added: “The clock is ticking and what matters now is giving companies the confidence to continue investing as quickly as possible.”

However, MEP and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage attacked the idea of a transition, tweeting: “I warned of the great Brexit betrayal two weeks ago. It is now official government policy.”

Analysis: UK ‘hustles’ Brussels

Adam Fleming, BBC Brussels reporter, said the UK was seeking a customs union agreement “that will keep things broadly the same for an interim period – an attempt to reassure business”.

“Firms will be told they’ll only have to change their processes once,” he said.

“In Brussels, EU negotiators are likely to stick to their position that that the future relationship can’t be considered until agreement has been reached on their priority issues – the rights of citizens, a financial settlement and the Irish border.”

BBC political correspondent Ben Wright said the UK government was “straining to show that it does have a route-map for Brexit”.

He said ministers were also attempting to “subtly” put the issue onto the negotiating table sooner than Brussels wants.

“They want to hustle EU negotiators into talking about trade much sooner than Brussels intends,” our correspondent said.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40922177

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World Championships 2017: Great Britain win relay silver & bronze

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 14, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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GB women claim silver in 4x400m final

Britain’s 4×400 metres women won a brilliant silver and the GB men bronze as the host nation finished the World Championships on a high.

Behind a superlative US performance for gold, the British quartet of Zoey Clark, Laviai Nielsen, Eilidh Doyle and Emily Diamond made it seven world medals in seven championships as they held off Poland.

A few minutes later Matthew Hudson-Smith, Dwayne Cowan, Rabah Yousif and Martyn Rooney ran a superb race to take the British medal tally to six, bang on the target set before the championships.

Earlier Laura Muir had finished outside the medals in the 5,000m but, as on Saturday night when the sprint teams landed gold and silver, the relay squads came storming to the rescue.

Only Mo Farah won an individual medal from the biggest team Britain has ever taken to a Worlds.

But the medal rush on this final weekend casts a different light on the squad’s performance, its five fourth places also a promise of what might be to come.

British team skipper Doyle said: “If you look at the team as a whole, we’ve performed really well. We might have just made the medal target but sometimes that’s irrelevant.

“Look at the bigger picture and I’m super proud of this team.”

  • Why athletics is still worth fighting for
  • GB athletics in ‘good place’ for Tokyo Olympics
  • Relive the World Championships closing night
  • Medal table GB medallists


Fine finale for British quartets

The US women’s team of Quanera Hayes, Allyson Felix, Shakima Wimbley and individual 400m champion Phyllis Francis were dominant winners, their 3 minutes 19.02 seconds the fastest time in the world in five years.

Felix now has 11 world gold medals, the same as Usain Bolt, her leg once again the fastest as she and her team-mates almost made it two distinct races.

With reigning champions Jamaica failing to finish after injury struck on the second leg, there was an opening for one of the teams.

The British quartet took it in style, once again the bankers for a nation that has always relished relay success.

The US men’s team had won gold at the last six Worlds, but this team lacks the stars of old and was overhauled by Trinidad and Tobago in the final few strides.

Behind them came bedlam as a capacity crowd roared home one last medal.

The British team had not been among the fastest qualifiers, yet inspired by 32-year-old Cowan on the second leg and a fine anchor leg from Rooney they came good when it mattered most.

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Bronze for GB men as Trinidad shock USA in 4x400m

Obiri out-kicks Ayana for 5,000m title

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri upset defending world champion Almaz Ayana to win 5,000m gold as Laura Muir finished a creditable sixth.

Ethiopian Ayana had added world 10,000m gold to her Olympic title on the previous weekend and took the pace out hard after a slow first two laps.

Only Obiri, silver medallist in Rio last summer, could go with her as the pair ran the second kilometre in 2 minutes 28 seconds and threw in a 5 mins 40 secs two-kilometre section as the field splintered.

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5,000m gold for Kenya’s Obiri as Muir finishes sixth

Ayana could not shake her shadow and with 300m to go Obiri exploded away for gold in 14 mins 34.86 secs, Ayana five and a half seconds adrift and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan closing fast for bronze.

Sixth in 14:52.07 represents a worthy result for Muir in her first major 5,000m final, having also finished fourth in her preferred 1500m.

“Fourth and sixth, five races in 10 days, I think I can take so many positives from this,” said Muir.

“I’ve showed I’m a contender in both events so I’m happy with that.”

Her compatriot Eilish McColgan was 10th in 15:00.43, one of many unable to follow the extraordinary pace of the front two.

Obiri covered the last kilometre in 2 mins 45 seconds and the last lap in just 60 seconds, a remarkable display of distance running dominance.

Women’s 800m

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Semenya wins 800m gold as Sharp comes eighth

South Africa’s double Olympic champion Caster Semenya won the women’s 800m in a personal best and 2017 world leading time of one minute 55.16 seconds.

Francine Niyonsaba of Burindi took silver and Ajee Wilson bronze for the United States, both blown away by Semenya’s astonishing acceleration in the final 50 metres.

Britain’s Lynsey Sharp, 27, was eighth.

  • Full report: Semenya cruises to 800m gold

Men’s 1500m

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Kenya’s Manangoi takes 1500m gold

Kenya added a one-two in the men’s 1500m as Elijah Manangoi held off Timothy Cheruiyot as world champion Asbel Kiprop faded into the also rans.

Norway’s European champion Filip Ingebrigtsen held off Spain’s Adel Mechaal for bronze, as Britain’s Chris O’Hare finished a disappointing 12th and last after paying for trying to go with the early pace.

Men’s high jump

Mutaz Barshim, Qatar’s Olympic silver medallist, won gold with a jump of 2.35m as Russia’s Danil Lysenko, competing as a neutral athlete, took silver ahead of Syria’s Majd Eddin Ghazal in third.

Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz, who won bronze at the 2012 Olympics, finished sixth after failing to jump 2.29m – the height he cleared for third in London.

Barshim told BBC Sport: “London is a special place for me. It’s where I had my first Olympic medal and the crowd was amazing. I really wanted it.

“I love the pressure. That’s when I perform the best. I expect from myself much more than everybody. It’s motivation.”

Women’s discus

Double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia won gold with a throw of 70.28m as Australia’s Dani Stevens won silver and France’s Melina Robert-Michon took the bronze.

‘London 2017 the best ever’

Eight-time world champion Michael Johnson on BBC One

I am not British so I can say with no bias that this championships have been amazing.

You won’t see crowds like this in Doha, and you wouldn’t see this anywhere in the United States.

There is not the appetite for this sport anywhere else in the world.

Olympic medallist and BBC commentator Brendan Foster

The sport should say to London – thank you very much indeed. You have given us a fantastic occasion here and it was the best ever.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/40919285

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Drunk air passenger arrests up 50%

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 14, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

A House of Lords committee report called for tougher rules on the sale of alcohol at airports

Arrests of passengers suspected of being drunk at UK airports and on flights have risen by 50% in a year, a BBC Panorama investigation suggests.

A total of 387 people were arrested between February 2016 and February 2017 – up from 255 the previous year.

Meanwhile, more than half of cabin crew who responded to a survey said they had witnessed disruptive drunken passenger behaviour at UK airports.

The Home Office is “considering” calls for tougher rules on alcohol.

The arrest figures obtained by Panorama came from 18 out of the 20 police forces with a major airport in their area.

Trade body Airlines UK said it should be made illegal for people to drink their own alcohol on board a plane.

‘Barmaids in the sky’

A total of 19,000 of the Unite union’s cabin crew members were surveyed and 4,000 responded, with one in five saying they had suffered physical abuse.

A former cabin crew manager with Virgin, Ally Murphy, quit her job last October after 14 years and told Panorama: “People just see us as barmaids in the sky.

“They would touch your breasts, or they’d touch your bum or your legs. I’ve had hands going up my skirt before.”

Image caption

Ally Murphy left her job as a cabin crew member after 14 years

In July 2016 the aviation industry introduced a voluntary code of conduct on disruptive passengers, which most of the big airlines and airports signed up to.

The code’s advice included asking retailers to warn passengers not to consume duty-free purchases on the plane, while staff are also asked not to sell alcohol to passengers who appear drunk.

Panorama found more than a quarter of cabin crew surveyed were unaware of the code of practice and, of those who had heard of it, only 23% thought it was working.

One anonymous crew member told Panorama: “The code of conduct isn’t working… We’re seeing these incidents on a daily, a weekly, a monthly basis. It’s the alcohol mainly in the duty free that is the significant problem.”

Alcohol in the air

  • Entering an aircraft when drunk or being drunk on an aircraft is a criminal offence, with a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment
  • Licensing laws which prevent the sale of alcohol outside permitted hours do not apply to airside sales of alcohol at UK international airports. Bars can remain open to serve passengers on the earliest and latest flights – from 04:00 in some cases
  • About 270m passengers passed through UK airports last year* and travellers spend an estimated £300m on alcohol at UK airports each year – around a fifth of total retail sales of £1.5bn**
  • The Civil Aviation Authority reported a 600% increase in disruptive passenger incidents in the UK between 2012 and 2016 with “most involving alcohol”. They say the increase is partly down to improved reporting of incidents

Sources: Airlines UK* and UK Travel Retail Forum**

Manchester Airport is one of the signatories but when Panorama’s undercover reporter asked at World Duty Free whether she could open alcohol bought at a duty-free shop to consume on the plane, she was told “officially probably not, unofficially I think you’ll get away with it”. Another shop in the airport did give the right advice.

World Duty Free said it was committed to dealing with the issue and that it displays “clear advisory notices at till points, on till receipts and on carrier bags that remind customers that alcohol purchases cannot be opened until their final destination is reached”.

Airlines UK, which represents carriers such as Virgin, British Airways and EasyJet, wants the government to amend the law to make consumption of a passenger’s own alcohol on board an aircraft a criminal offence.

‘There for one reason’

Airlines can limit the amount of alcohol sold to passengers on board flights.

Low-cost airline Jet2 has already banned alcohol sales on flights before 08:00 and managing director Phil Ward agreed further action was needed.

“I think they [airports] could do more. I think the retailers could do more as well.

“Two litre steins of beer in bars, mixes and miniatures in duty free shops, which can only be there for one reason – you know, they’re items that are not sold on the high street.

“We can’t allow it not to change.”

A House of Lords committee report earlier this year called for tougher rules on the sale of alcohol at airports.

Committee chair Baroness McIntosh of Pickering said: “We didn’t hear one shred of evidence to show the voluntary code was either working now or had any possible vestige of success in working any time soon.”

The Home Office said it was considering the report’s recommendations, which include revoking the airports’ exemption from the Licensing Act, “and will respond in due course”.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “I don’t accept that the airports don’t sell alcohol responsibly. The sale of alcohol per se is not a problem. It’s the misuse of it and drinking to excess and then behaving badly.”

She said they were working with retailers and staff to make sure they understand the rules.

Watch Panorama: Plane Drunk on Monday 14 August on BBC One at 20:30 BST and afterwards on BBC iPlayer

Are you affected by issues covered in this story? Let us know about your experiences. Email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40877229

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Charlottesville: White House defends Trump response

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 14, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionThe events in Charlottesville were the culmination of months of protests by white supremacists

The White House has defended President Donald Trump’s reaction to deadly violence over a white supremacist rally in Virginia, amid criticism he did not explicitly condemn far-right groups.

But a spokesman said his condemnation included white supremacists.

A woman was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd protesting against the rally in Charlottesville.

Separately, a rally organiser was chased away by protesters as he tried to give a press conference on Sunday.

Jason Kessler, who organised the controversial “Unite the Right” march, was heckled and booed as he blamed the police for not preventing the violence, which he also condemned.

Media captionJason Kessler was booed and chased away from his press conference, as the BBC’s Joel Gunter reports

Nineteen people were injured in the car-ramming incident, and another 15 people were wounded in separate clashes related to the far-right march on Saturday afternoon.

Protests and vigils in support of Charlottesville were held in many US cities on Sunday. In Seattle, police used pepper spray to stop anti-fascist protesters approaching a pro-Trump rally.

How did Trump initially respond?

Hours after the violence erupted, Mr Trump said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides”.

“The hate and the division must stop right now,” he told reporters in New Jersey, where he is on a working holiday. “We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation.”

But his comments did not explicitly condemn the white extremist groups involved in the rally, an omission that was strongly criticised by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Media captionThe US president ignored questions over whether his response went far enough

Many, including senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, echoed the sentiment of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, who tweeted: “Mr President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”

The president’s national security adviser, HR McMaster, went further by commenting: “Anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it meets the definition of terrorism.”

Mr Trump’s daughter too also appeared to offer stronger condemnation than her father.

Skip Twitter post by @IvankaTrump

End of Twitter post by @IvankaTrump

The mayor of Charlottesville, Democrat Mike Signer, drew a link between the events and the rhetoric of Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, saying that “these anti-Semites, racists, Aryans, neo-Nazis, KKK” had come out of the shadows after having “been given a key and a reason to come into the light”.

In response to the criticism, the White House issued a statement on Sunday clarifying that Mr Trump’s condemnation had included white supremacists.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups,” a spokesperson said.

GoDaddy expels US neo-Nazi website

Should we be surprised by Trump’s response?

Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Clues for how the president would react to such a situation were scattered across his presidential campaign.

In February 2016, Mr Trump initially declined to disavow support from the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, the former Klan leader who became a Louisiana Republican politician.

“Any candidate who cannot immediately condemn a hate group like the KKK does not represent the Republican Party, and will not unite it,” Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the first black Republican elected from a Southern state since 1881, said.

After a week, Mr Trump gave a firm statement denouncing the KKK, but his initial hesitance would be an issue for the remainder of his presidential race.

If, as Mr Trump’s critics suggest, his statements following the Charlottesville incident were yet another “dog whistle” to white supremacists, there’s evidence that the message was clearly heard.

“Trump comments were good,” one poster on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer wrote. “He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together.”

Read more from Anthony

How did the violence unfold?

Hundreds of white nationalists converged for Saturday’s “Unite the Right” march, called to protest against the removal of a statue of a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

Media captionCharlottesville vice-mayor: These people are white supremacists

The far-right demonstrators, who included neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members, clashed violently with counter-protesters.

A 32-year-old woman, Heather D Heyer, was later killed when a car was driven into a crowd of dispersing counter-protesters.

Ms Heyer’s mother paid tribute to her daughter, who was a civil rights activist and lawyer.

Image copyright

Image caption

A makeshift memorial has been set up at the site of the incident

“She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, she always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair,” she told the Huffington Post.

“I’m proud that what she was doing was peaceful, she wasn’t there fighting with people.”

Media captionMarissa Blair says the Charlottesville car attack was an ‘act of terror’

Twenty-year-old James Fields from Ohio, the alleged driver, is in detention on suspicion of second-degree murder and the FBI has opened a civil rights investigation.

Some observers say that Mr Trump’s election to the White House has re-energised the far right across the US.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organisation, says that “Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country.”

Media captionPhotojournalist Ryan M Kelly was covering the protest when the car ploughed into the crowd

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40919181

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CCTV to be compulsory in all abattoirs in England

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 11, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

Slaughterhouses in England will have to install CCTV as part of government plans to monitor animal welfare.

Under rules being phased in over the next year, Food Standards Agency vets will be able to ask to see footage of all areas where livestock are held.

Slaughterhouses found to be failing welfare standards could face a criminal investigation or lose staff licences.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the proposals would make the UK a “global leader on animal welfare”.

Currently, keepers of animals bred for meat must meet animal welfare laws and codes of practice, which cover the treatment of livestock including how they are fed, housed and transported, as well as how they are killed.

Abattoirs in England must meet welfare regulations, with separate rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and additional EU regulations.

Plans to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses are being considered by the Welsh government.

The government has said it plans to increase standards for farm animals and domestic pets in England by updating these statutory animal welfare codes.

Breaches would result in a welfare enforcement notice, the suspending or revoking of staff licences or referral for a criminal investigation.

Image copyright

Image caption

Mr Gove said animal welfare was important to producing food to the “very highest standards”

The first codes to be revised will cover chickens bred for meat, followed by laying hens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses over the course of the next year.

New codes were needed to reflect modernising medicines, technology, as well as the latest research and advice from vets, the government said.

Mr Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.

“As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”

Unrestricted footage

FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said the watchdog supported compulsory CCTV in abattoirs, since voluntary adoption by slaughterhouses had reached a “plateau”.

She said: “We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs.

“We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Gudrun Ravetz said the mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses was “essential” to safeguarding animal welfare.

“We are particularly pleased to see a commitment to official veterinarians having unrestricted access to footage, which the BVA has been calling for,” he said.

“Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help ensure that the UK will continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40895049

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