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February 24, 2020 News Team

Businesses urge Boris Johnson to minimise post Brexit red tape

Businesses urge Boris Johnson to minimise post Brexit red tape

Businesses urge Boris Johnson to minimise post-Brexit red tape
Businesses have urged Boris Johnson to drive down post-Brexit red tape in a trade deal with the European Union as the UK prepares to sign off on its negotiating demands. A Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report on Monday called on the Prime Minister to ensure a deal with Brussels minimises bureaucracy to ensure a strong economy.
Ministers are expected to commit to seeking to obtain a Canada-style agreement with zero tariffs in the negotiating mandate scheduled for publication on Thursday.

But this could set up a clash with the EU after its chief negotiator Michel Barnier ruled out the possibility the UK can have the same deal as the North American nation.

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said: “With talks now in touching distance, the CBI has asked employers across the country what practical outcomes they need from the future EU relationship so they can concentrate on what they do best: investing, innovating, creating jobs and supporting a strong economy.

“The message is clear: keep trade easy and minimise red tape. For this reason, British firms back many of the Government's objectives set out in the negotiating mandate, such as on zero tariffs and data.”

The Government is expected to publish its negotiating mandate for a desired free trade agreement with the US the following week.

Environment Secretary George Eustice drew criticism on Sunday after repeatedly refusing to rule out chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef being imported from the States in the deal.

His predecessor before the recent reshuffle had insisted the controversial products from the States would not be imported amid animal welfare and environmental fears.

But Mr Eustice, while saying there are “no plans” to change the law, did not explicitly rule it out when pressed three times on the subject.

No surprises were being billed for the UK's demands from Brussels, with Mr Johnson's Europe adviser David Frost having delivered a major speech this week.

He dismissed signing up to a level playing field setting common rules and standards to prevent businesses in the UK undercutting those in the bloc, which earned a rebuke from Mr Barnier.

Canada's deal took seven years to negotiate, with import tariffs eliminated on most goods between the nation and the bloc, though some customs and VAT checks remain.

While the UK formally left the EU on January 31, it is currently in a transition period during which it follows Brussels' rules without having a say in how they are made.

The transition is due to finish on December 31 and the Prime Minister has repeatedly vowed not to extend it.

But there have been fears this is too little time to strike the ambitious deal and the UK could plummet out of the bloc and be hit with high trade tariffs.

The PM is to convene his Brexit Cabinet on Tuesday to sign off on the mandate before it is published online and laid in Parliament on Thursday.

Mr Frost and his team will then head to Brussels for the first round of negotiations on March 2.

The EU member states are expected to adopt their negotiating position on Tuesday.

Published: 24/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Parts of Treasury to move north

Parts of Treasury to move north

Parts of Treasury 'to move north'
New Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to be preparing to announce that parts of the Treasury will be moved to a location in the north of England.
He is expected to use his first Budget to announce that a significant number of the 1,500 jobs at the department will be moved.

The move will be seen as a bid to show northern voters who defected to the Tories from Labour in the last general election that the Conservatives are working in their favour.

The Budget on March 11 was billed by the Sunday Times as the “biggest spending giveaway” since 2001.

A Treasury source said: “The Chancellor wants to put the Treasury at the heart of the levelling-up agenda and wants to rethink how we make decisions that affect the whole of the UK.

“He wants to shift the gravity of economic decision away from the capital to our regions and nations – and setting up a new economic decision-making campus in the north of England will do that.

“It will be key in helping spread opportunity and prosperity to all, and allow the Treasury to access a more diverse range of talent, making it more reflective of the country as a whole.”

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused the Conservatives of stealing his policy.

“Will these Tories ever come up with something original? I committed moving a large section of the Treasury to the north a year ago,” the MP said.

“If they're going to plagiarise they could have the decency of properly attributing the idea to Labour.”

Mr Sunak succeed Sajid Javid at the top of the Treasury in Boris Johnson's recent reshuffle.

Mr Javid was ordered to fire his closest aides and replace them with advisers chosen by No 10. Instead, he resigned.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Venice cancels carnival over coronavirus fears

Venice cancels carnival over coronavirus fears

Venice cancels carnival over coronavirus fears
Italian authorities have cancelled Venice's famed carnival events in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The number of infected persons in the country has soared to at least 133.

Veneto regional Governor Luca Zaia said the shutdown will begin on Sunday evening.

Carnival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the lagoon city, would have run until Tuesday.

Authorities said three people in Venice have tested positive, all of them in their late 80s and who remain in hospital in critical condition. Nearly all of Italy's cases are clustered in the north, including the north-east Veneto region.

Italians' cherished Sunday routines – from football to church-going – were hit by the spread of the contagion. Sports events in the affected northern areas, including local children's sports team practices and three Serie A matches, were cancelled.

Bishops in several dioceses in northern Italy issued directives that holy water fonts be kept empty, that communion wafers be placed in the hands of the faithful and not directly into their mouths by priests celebrating Mass, and that congregants refrain from shaking hands or exchanging kisses during the symbolic Sign of the Peace ritual.

In a coincidence, the Vatican official in charge of the office dealing with propagating the faith hails from one of the hardest-hit towns, Codogno. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, whose siblings live in the town, declined to dramatise the measures. “It's obvious that we need to use all necessary prudence,” to avoid spreading the virus among the faithful, he said.

Italy's first cases – that of a married Chinese couple who were on holiday in Rome – surfaced in early February.

To date, two deaths – of elderly persons in the north – have been reported.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Coronavirus Evacuees speak of hard quarantine

Coronavirus Evacuees speak of hard quarantine

Coronavirus: Evacuees speak of 'hard' quarantine
vacuees released from a two-week coronavirus quarantine centre have described the experience as “hard” but praised staff for looking after them.
More than 100 people flown out of the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak left a UK training centre on Sunday for the first time in 14 days.

All 118 people staying at the Kents Hill Park training and conference centre in Milton Keynes tested negative for the virus.

One man, who was among guests holding backpacks and suitcases pictured getting taxis, said it was a “fantastic” feeling to be able to go home.

The group, who were brought back to Britain earlier this month on a repatriation flight from Wuhan, included around 10 children and a family of four.

Paul Walkinshaw, from Manchester, left with his wife Lihong, having been on holiday visiting her parents in the city of Shiyan for Chinese New Year when family members contacted them and told them about the virus outbreak.

Speaking to reporters as he exited the centre on Sunday morning, he said: “It feels fantastic to leave, although it feels weird not having to wear a mask and gloves in public.

“The first 48 hours were hard when we were confined to our rooms, after that it was fine.”

The 39-year-old praised “friendly” staff and the local community for their support and said he was looking forward to sleeping in his own bed again.

“The first thing I'm going to do when I get home is sleep in my own bed.”

Another evacuee, whose name was given as Sadiqi, said they had been looked after “brilliantly”.

“Since we've been quarantined, we've been treated brilliantly.

“It was definitely hard at first (inside the quarantine) but it is just what it is. It was just one of those things.”

One family with a young toddler, who did not want to be named, also praised staff at the centre.

They told the PA news agency: “The staff were really nice and really helpful. They got us lots of things.

“We live in the UK but it hasn't put us off going back to Wuhan.”

The training and conference centre has been professionally cleaned and will be back to business as usual from next week, NHS England said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock commended the evacuees “for their patience and perseverance”, and NHS strategic incident director Professor Keith Willett thanked them for “the very responsible compliance they have shown”.

It comes as dozens of evacuees from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship spent their first night quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

Thirty-two people, who were trapped for more than two weeks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, arrived in Merseyside on Saturday evening.

Some of the group – reportedly made up of 30 Britons and two Irish nationals – gestured from their coaches as they arrived on Saturday evening, one forming a heart symbol with her hands and another an OK signal.

All of those brought to Arrowe Park tested negative to having Covid-19 before flying back to the UK.

This is the second batch of evacuees staying in Merseyside following the hosting of 83 British nationals earlier in February and a health official said they now have a “blueprint” for how to handle the new arrivals.

But honeymooner Alan Steele, who is among those staying there with his wife, vented his frustrations with the facilities, complaining things were broken and that the food was cold.

Posting on Facebook on Sunday morning, he wrote: “Supposedly 2nd fresh breakfasts turned up also cold. who the f*** organised this and as they had 80 odd 2 weeks b4 would have thought could manage such a simple task as 32 ppl.”

It is understood some British nationals who are part of the Diamond Princess crew opted to remain.

Since being kept on board the cruise liner in the port of Yokohama, more than 600 passengers and crew have been infected.

British couple David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who were on the cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary, are still in a Japanese hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus and pneumonia.

Relatives said the couple are both “having a really tough time” and feel “very much in the dark” in terms of treatment, adding that they are awaiting further tests.

Speaking in a liveblog on Sunday, their daughter-in-law Roberta Abel said: “We want to get them discharged from the hospital and back to the UK as negative.

“They are scared. They said to us today, 'If we get that virus again, we are not coming home'.”

Britons in Cambodia who left another cruise ship, the Westerdam, have also received Government help to return home and are being advised to self-isolate for 14 days when they get back to the UK.

A spokeswoman said: “Our staff have worked throughout the week to provide assistance to the Britons who were on the Westerdam cruise ship.

“Those cruise ship passengers and crew who were tested in Cambodia all had negative results.”

The death toll in mainland China from Covid-19 has risen to more than 2,400, Chinese health authorities said.

In a bid to help stop the spread of the virus in the UK, the health service is piloting home testing for where NHS staff, including nurses and paramedics, will visit people in their own homes.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Fresh band of heavy rain is expected to sweep over Britain

Fresh band of heavy rain is expected to sweep over Britain

Fresh band of heavy rain is expected to sweep over Britain
This is as flooded communities from South Wales to northern England continue to recover from a fortnight of downpours.
The number of flood warnings in force in England dropped slightly on Saturday as the rain relented in many areas – albeit with gale forces winds continuing in the north.

But forecasters warned that the respite would be short-lived with a new band of heavy rain coming in from the south west from Saturday evening, followed by another wave on Sunday night extending into a grim-looking Monday for most of the UK.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for heavy rain in an already saturated South Wales from 10pm on Saturday to 11am on Sunday causing further concerns over flooding after many towns and villages were inundated by last weekend's Storm Dennis.

On Saturday evening, nine flood warnings remained in force across Wales – mainly on the River Severn and River Dee – with 10 flood alerts.

In England, the two severe flood warnings on the River Lugg, in Herefordshire, were downgraded but 75 flood warnings and 156 flood alerts remained in place.

Friday night's flooding in parts of West and North Yorkshire, on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, subsided during Saturday.

The village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale was cut off on Friday by rising water and there were road closures and fears of further flooding along the Otley-Ilkley-Skipton corridor, north of Bradford.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they had to rescue four people from a stranded car in Skipton on Friday night and two horses stuck in floodwater nearby.

The Met Office said the overnight band of rain would give way to more showery weather during Sunday.

But it warned that the weather system was due to pivot back on Sunday night, bringing widespread rain and wind for many parts, with snow over central and southern Scotland and the hills of the north Pennines bringing a grim start to Monday.

A yellow weather warning for heavy rain has been issued for 3am to 3pm on Monday.

Dan Suri, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: “A relatively deep area of low-pressure system on Monday provides a continuation of the extremely unsettled period the UK has endured.

“Despite reports to the contrary, this system hasn't been named, and there is no plan to do so currently, despite some speculation on social media.

“With further rain in the forecast over the coming days, additional rainfall could create further challenges as river catchments are more likely to respond to extra rainfall more quickly. Flooding, especially in areas already heavily affected, remains a possibility.”

Scott Squires, duty tactical manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “As the flood waters recede and communities start to get back on their feet, we'll continue to support local authorities and emergency service in these affected areas.

“Over the coming days our teams will be checking for any signs of damage to our flood defences, and removing blockages and debris which has built up in culverts and drainage grids etc.”

Despite the Met Office's decision not to name the latest bout of stormy weather, it is the third consecutive weekend of heavy rain, with swathes of South Wales and northern and central England still trying to cope with the impact of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Towns in Northern Italy put in special measures over Covid 19 outbreak

Towns in Northern Italy put in special measures over Covid 19 outbreak

Towns in Northern Italy put in special measures over Covid-19 outbreak
A dozen northern Italian towns were subject to stringent measures on Saturday after Covid-19 claimed two lives and sickened an increasing number of people who had no direct links to the origin of the virus.
The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in towns in Lombardy and Veneto to order schools, businesses and restaurants closed, and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, the business capital of Italy, shut down public offices.

Hundreds of residents and workers who came into contact with an estimated 54 people confirmed infected in Italy were in isolation pending test results.

Civil protection crews set up a tent camp outside a closed hospital in Veneto to screen medical staff for the virus.

In hard-hit Codogno, where the first patient of the northern cluster to fall ill was in critical condition, main street was practically a ghost town Saturday, with supermarkets, restaurants and businesses closed.

The few people out on the streets were wearing coveted face masks, which were nearly impossible to find in sold-out pharmacies.

The president of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, said there were 39 confirmed cases in the region, where 10 towns received orders to suspend non-essential activities and services.

An elderly woman who died tested positive for the virus, though it wasn't clear if that is what caused her death.

The Veneto region reported 12 people with the virus, including a 78-year-old man who died late on Friday.

Two of the region's confirmed infections are in relatives of the man who died, Veneto regional president Luca Zaia said..

Mr Zaia said on Saturday that the contagion showed the virus is transmitted like any other flu and trying to pinpoint a single source of infection or one with direct links to China is no longer effective.

“You can get it from anyone,” he told reporters.

“We can expect to have cases of patients who had no contact” with suspected carriers.

“While the virus isn't particularly lethal, it can be for the elderly or people with existing conditions, he said.

An initial ordinance penned by the health minister imposed an effective cordon on 10 Lombardy towns around Lodi, southeast of Milan, after Lombardy reported a quadrupling of cases on Friday.

But individual cities outside that core cordon area, such as Cremona, issued their own restrictions cancelling school after confirming their own cases.

The numbers of infected were in constant flux, but by Saturday had topped 25.

A press conference was planned later on Saturday to provide the most up-to-date figures.

Authorities urged calm, but acknowledged that the clusters were alarming given the secondary contagions.

The first man to be confirmed as infected in Lombardy had met with someone who had returned from China on January 21, but remains without symptoms.

The infected man worked at a Unilever plant near Codogno, and more than 100 of his colleagues were being kept in isolation pending test results.

In Rome, doctors at the Spallanzani infectious disease hospital reported some good news in the otherwise bleak day.

An Italian who tested positive for the virus two weeks ago is to be released, and a sickened Chinese tourist has tested negative for the first time.

Spallanzani had been caring for three patients for more than two weeks, Italy's only cases until the clusters emerged in the north on Friday.

Separately Saturday, 19 Italians who spent more than two weeks quarantined on a virus-stricken cruise liner in Japan landed at Rome's military Pratica di Mare airport.

They had been stranded on the Diamond Princess since February 5.

Following the first health checks and decontamination process, the passengers were transferred to the military campus of Cecchignola where they will spend a 14-day isolation period.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Sir Keir Starmer calls on Labour members to unite or face having the party out of power for a generation

Sir Keir Starmer calls on Labour members to unite or face having the party out of power for a generation

Sir Keir Starmer calls on Labour members to unite or face having the party out of power for a generation
Labour leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer has called on members to unite or face having the party out of power for a generation as they prepare to vote for Jeremy Corbyn's successor.
The shadow Brexit secretary put “uniting the party” as his first priority and his second to be an effective opposition to “really dangerous man” Boris Johnson.

Sir Keir's warning in an interview with the Observer came ahead of the opening of the ballot of members and supporters on Monday.

Lisa Nandy, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Sir Keir have nearly six weeks left to win their votes but many may make their selection at their first opportunity.

Sir Keir said: “My message to our members is essentially that they've got a choice: we as a party can mope around, head in hands, arguing with each other, pointing fingers about who's to blame for this, that and the other.

“Or we could decide the next four years of our history is for us – we can pull together and shape what happens next.”

He said that if Labour loses the next election then an entire generation “will have not had the protection and benefit of a Labour government”.

“This is a choice we've got to make, a conscious choice for half a million members. Do you want to make history, pull together and change? If the answer to that is yes, then let's do it. Because if not, we're going to lose,” he added.

The three contenders are to face the last hustings before the ballot opens in Durham on Sunday.

In recent days shadow business secretary Ms Long-Bailey has highlighted her plan to kick off a council house “building boom” to solve the housing crisis.

Ms Nandy vowed to rein in credit scoring agencies, which the Wigan MP blamed for increasing the cost of being poor.

Mr Corbyn's successor is set to be named on April 4.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 23, 2020 News Team

Fury wins WBC World Heavyweight title

Fury wins WBC World Heavyweight title

Fury wins WBC World Heavyweight title
Tyson Fury produced a stunning performance of patience and power to stop Deontay Wilder in the seventh round to finally win the WBC world heavyweight title.
Fourteen months on from his controversial draw with Wilder – when he outboxed the champion only for two knockdowns to deny him the famous green belt – Fury had vowed to take the fight to the American.

He did just that, flooring the champion twice and completely dominating the action before Wilder's corner threw the towel in to save the despairing, bewildered champion from more punishment.

A right hand which landed near Wilder's left ear saw the champion go down heavily in the third and in the fifth and a right to the head and left hook to the body had a tired Wilder down again.

He was up quickly but tired as Fury looked to bring about a conclusive finish. Wilder was in a sorry state by the start of the seventh.

Another left hook had him hurt and all he could offer was his trademark, lazy, looping right hand. Fury pinned him in the corner and the towel came in to anoint a new world heavyweight champion.

Fury – a former unified champion who dethroned the great Wladimir Klitschko before being hit by depression and addiction – looked typically relaxed dressed in a fancy dress 'King' costume as he was carried to the ring in a moving throne.

Wilder, with 42 wins and 41 knockouts on his record as well as the December 2018 draw with Fury, received a hostile reception on home turf. After a tentative opening minute, Mancunian Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) began to take control while chants of “you big dosser” aimed at Wilder rang out.

Round two saw a big right from Wilder land quite cleanly but Fury was not bothered and in the third, Fury perfectly timed a right hand near Wilder's left ear to send him scrambling to the canvas.

Fury was similarly dominant in the next two sessions before the fifth began with another huge right, as he justified the extra stone he weighed in at from the first fight. A right to the head and left hook to the body had a tired Wilder down again.

He was up quickly but seemed to be flagging as Fury looked to bring about a conclusive finish. A right uppercut nearly provided it only for Fury be warned about leaning by referee Bayless. Very few spectators were in their seats at this point.

Fury was giving Wilder hell but the shattered champion was still seeking a Hail Mary punch of his own. Even a jab had Wilder hurt, before a left hook seconds later.

Another left hook finished another superb round for the Briton. Wilder was in a sorry state by the start of the seventh.

Another left hook had him hurt and all he could offer was his trademark, lazy, looping right hand. Fury pinned him in the corner and Bayless quickly jumped in to stop it, prompting incredible scenes inside the arena.

Published: 23/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 22, 2020 News Team

Man faces court over London mosque stabbing

Man faces court over London mosque stabbing

Man faces court over London mosque stabbing
A 29-year-old homeless man has appeared in court charged with stabbing a prayer leader with a kitchen knife at a major London mosque.
A 29-year-old homeless man has appeared in court charged with stabbing a prayer leader with a kitchen knife at a major London mosque.

Daniel Horton is accused of grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.

The bearded defendant, wearing a grey tracksuit, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday and sat forward with his head bowed during the hearing.

He spoke only to state his nationality as British and confirm his name and date of birth.

Raafat Maglad, 70, was treated in hospital for stab injuries after being injured at London Central Mosque in Regent's Park.

Mr Maglad, known as the muezzin – the person who makes the call to prayer – returned to the mosque for Friday prayers, less than 24 hours after the incident.

Prosecutor Tanyia Dogra said the victim had suffered a 1.5cm wound to his neck.

She told the court the victim and defendant were known to each other because Horton had been attending the mosque for a number of years.

Horton, who the court heard had been sleeping rough since last year, was remanded in custody by District Judge Nina Tempia to appear at Southwark Crown Court on March 20.

Published: 22/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 22, 2020 News Team

Nandy proposes shake up for BBC

Nandy proposes shake up for BBC

Nandy proposes shake-up for BBC
Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy has proposed a major shake-up of the BBC to stop decisions being made “by a small group of men behind a desk” in London.
The Wigan MP vying to succeed Jeremy Corbyn suggested she would overhaul the ownership of the broadcaster and also ensure commissioning decisions for the BBC and Channel 4 are moved out of the capital.

Ms Nandy and her rivals, Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, were taking part in the final hustings over the weekend before members start voting for the new leader on Monday.

The leadership race comes as the BBC faces a potentially drastic overhaul by the Tory Government while also coming under fire from some on the left of the political spectrum.

The Government's hinted at replacing the licence fee with a tiered scubscription when the BBC's charter is next renewed.

Published: 22/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub