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Methodist-Church-President

Main churches in Antigua support COVID-19 vaccinations – but where is the due diligence of their representation

Taken at another level when it comes to acts against humanity, these are well documented, even their claim to scientifically; but has the “church(es)” really checked the extent of the science and indeed their faith?

Bishop Everald Galbraith
Apostle Dr. Stephen Andrews

“…hand in hand with the state so that we can conquer this enemy together…”

This is the most frightening situation on our local front so far in this pandemic… but haven’t we been leading to this long?

R C Bishop Yanis

This is so so sad.

Not so much the encouragement, but what it represents in some disguise, if only to be carefully kind because of the apparent lack of due diligence by the churches, arguing the church must stand with science and faith.

Criminal acts against humanity, taking away people’s right of choice as to what ‘medication’ they take for something which carries minimal risks (Risks that are dishonestly represented at that) to theirs, or others’ lives.

Taking that right to choose that will ‘lawfully’ (but illegally) cause them to lose their livelihoods. Who thinks of the consequences of this? It is what the UN ICCPR is all about.

https://antiguanewsroom.com/seventh-day-adventist-churchs-stance-on-covid-19-vaccine/?fbclid=IwAR2V2s3_fzF47MF9FV0Jyii6yxE6_RvnT9hN94LcVXx4_KgP5-qzCn-xg60

Saying: “They are not the Biblical Mark of the Beast and they are safe and effective. That’s the stance of three prominent churches…in Antigua…”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, Science/Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

Javid

It is not different from forcing mandatory vaccination

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid

Playing the game! But we can’t say that the BOT Montserrat understands it. That begs the question, “Do the Government continue to ‘mismanage’? The criticism from day one has been how poorly they have managed, criminalising guidelines, and the logistics surrounding them. A most recent press release claiming to have “expanded the categories of persons allowed to enter Montserrat, and have made provisions for the use of electronic monitoring devices under the new public health COVID-19 Suppression Order…, is no more than forcing people to take the vaccine.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1463989/Sajid-Javid-covid-positive-test-health-secretary-coronavirus-vn?utm_source=express_newsletter&utm_campaign=politics_evening_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

The UK Daily Express carried that story today coming after the Government of Montserrat (GOM) announced that it was making laws in a similar fashion that has pressured in more ways than one, the people and visitors to Montserrat. The latest move in a hypocritical way appears to be opening up the island to ‘tourists’ and visitors and even to persons who own homes and others who are normally residents in Montserrat for periods during each year.

What is this thirst, this hang-up on ‘vaccination’ which as seen in the most recent of many stories and official announcements, that the vaccine does not guarantee one who has taken, the ‘jab’ or ‘jabs’ (more than one, three may even be required to improve efficacy, do not prevent the vaccinated from contracting or passing on the infection?

The Order requires that certain categories of persons visiting the island must be fully vaccinated in order to gain admission to the island. The previous rules such as testing when on the island may still be in place.

“The parent or sibling of a Montserratian…”

“The parent, sibling, husband, wife, child or dependant of a person who (i) holds a permit of permanent residence; (ii) ordinarily resides on Montserrat; or, (iii) who owns a habitable house or home in Montserrat.”  

“The parent, sibling, husband-wife, child or dependant of a professional person who has been engaged by an entity in the public or private sector.”

In each case these persons: “…must be fully vaccinated and intends to enter Montserrat no earlier than July 19, 2021 and leave Montserrat no later than September 30, 2021;”

They remind that the new Order also makes provisions for the use of an electronic monitoring device to better manage persons in self-quarantine. 

On the Daily Express website there is also an article which quotes a professor who is angry at PM Johnson for what is called “Freedom Day” when all COVID-19 restrictions are eased on Monday. “Professor Christina Pagel, professor of operational research at University College London (UCL), said: “I feel p****d off, sad and angry.

“We are having the wrong conversation. Opening up on Monday is madness. We should not be doing it.

“We should be talking about how do we get cases down now.”

TMR says they can ease the situation by offering those people who for one reason or another do access the vaccine advice and information on how to protect healthily against the virus and what treatment is available early should they contract or even suspect, infection.

The full referenced GoM press release may be found at: www.gov.ms

Readers who wish to read more on the issues of mandatory vaccination and other reletative matters to how the COVID situation is handled, here and world-wide may find on this TMR site and at: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

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NHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

by Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline

TMR: As we here agree but for different reasons;  knowing our GoM somehow do not reference much CARPHA/PAHO/WHO but follow UK directives, mostly though seemingly without question or study.

Doctors and NHS trusts are demanding a plan for Britain’s Autumn booster jab rollout within weeks to ensure the UK can end its ’emergency response’ to Covid-19 and edge further towards normality.

Medics also want clarity from ministers on how long they believe that immunity from the first two jabs will last and whether children are to be vaccinated as England’s proposed ‘Freedom Day’ arrived with little relaxation of rules because of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant.

The challenge of also doing the winter flu jab campaign as usual – and the potential of a combined shot to fight both the flu and coronavirus – must also be overcome as well as keeping an army of volunteers on standby to administer the injections, experts warned today.  

Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers and Royal College of GPs chairman Martin Marshall said the plan to ensure every British adult is offered a jab by July 19 is ‘not so much a finishing line as a staging post’.Adwith Telegraph Media GroupHomeowner over 60? Don’t fall for the equity release myths

One insider told the BBC: ‘We cannot just carry on as we are, with an emergency response’. 

Almost a third of all adults in the UK have now had two jabs, while 80 per cent of the population has had a first jab. But the elderly and vulnerable are expected to need a third jab to protect them this winter. 

Covid booster vaccines are currently being trialled in the UK as health chiefs gear up to offer all over-50s a third dose this autumn.

Southampton University scientists are recruiting thousands of fully-vaccinated Britons to the study, which will test seven Covid jabs as top-ups.

They will record any side-effects analyse the antibody levels of volunteers to check whether the extra dose offered any extra protection. No10’s top scientists are set to be fed the results of the world-first trial to determine how booster shots should be dished out later in the year.

The acceleration of planning for the Autumn came as: 

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The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data

© Provided by Daily MailThe cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data

NHS chiefs warn ministers must END 'emergency Covid response'

© Provided by Daily MailNHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

Covid jabs ‘will be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds before schools return in September’ 

Young people aged 16 and 17 are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine before they return to school after the summer holidays, it has been reported.

According to The Sun, ministers want to give jabs to children for the first time if medical experts say it is safe to do so.

The new plans emerged on the day that Britons would have been celebrating the final lifting of coronavirus restrictions, before the measure was delayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

With a new Freedom Day target of July 17, Downing Street reportedly wants to offer all A-level and college students aged 16 and 17 a vaccine in August before they go back to school in September.

However, it comes after experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are understood to have raised ‘serious ethical concerns’ about inoculating children because of the tiny risk they face of becoming seriously ill. 

The JCVI was reportedly set to urge No10 to hold off jabbing under-18s in the immediate future and wait for more safety data to come out of the US and Israel, where the plans are already in motion.

But a Whitehall source told The Sun that if the JCVI does approve vaccinations for younger age groups, the Government has the ‘capacity and willingness’ to offer them vaccines.  

‘Late teens are some of the most socially active members of society so if we can cut that transmission, it can only be a good thing,’ they added. 

Yesterday, hundreds of people queued to get a jab at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London as the vaccine programme was opened up to people aged 18 to 20.   

More than 700,000 Covid-19 jabs were booked in one day through the national booking service on Friday which equated to 30,000 an hour or more than eight every second.

Experts running the clinical trials said every jab should spark added immunity — but that some may lead to more side-effects than others.

It came as one million jabs were booked over the weekend as officials launched a ‘summer sprint’ to vaccinate all over-18s by July 19.

Thousands queued in the rain for jabs at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London yesterday after the football club turned into a walk-in vaccine clinic for the day. Most of those getting vaccinated were in their late teens or 20s, and also went to similar events at football stadiums all over London over the weekend. 

Patients will be given health MOTs when they go to get their covid boosters or flu jabs, under NHS plans.

Starting this Autumn, they will be offered a range of tests including blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol checks.

NHS officials believe that thousands of lives could be saved by rolling out these routine MOTs to patients at the same time as their jabs.

Scientists are not yet clear as to whether patients will need booster jabs this Autumn and it will depend on how long the protective effects of the first two doses last, based on the evidence from trials.

But NHS officials are planning to offer these check-ups at flu vaccination clinics – even if the boosters aren’t needed – to try and catch conditions that might otherwise remain undiagnosed.

Amanda Pritchard, the NHS’s Chief Operating Officer said: ‘The NHS is not just a sickness service but a health service which is why we want to make every contact count, using every opportunity

Officials are in a race to vaccinate younger adults in a bid to halt the spread of the Indian variant and stop students bringing Covid-19 back home over the summer holidays, potentially infecting older generations. 

Cases are currently highest among people in their 20s and infections are five times higher in under-25s than in over-65s, as almost all older adults have received both doses.

Everyone aged 18 and over is being urged to arrange a jab if they have not yet had one, as the health service enters the final push to protect the country against the virus. 

Public Health England said there has been a 79 per cent rise in one week in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, with the increase being driven by younger age groups.

Similar pop-up centres to the one at Tottenham Hotspur were set up on Saturday at sporting venues in London and giant jab clinics were also opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.  

There were also pop up clinics at universities, such as in York and Canterbury.

The day before, the vaccine programme was thrown open to all over-18s and the NHS revealed that 1,008,472 jab appointments were booked on Friday and Saturday. 

Social media firms have signed up to a government plan to encourage younger people to get the Covid jab. Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok and YouTube joined the scheme.

The success of the vaccination rollout is crucial if ‘Freedom Day’ can finally go ahead on July 19.

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Ministers consider letting holidaymakers who have received two doses of Covid vaccine skip quarantine after visiting amber list countries 

People who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas, it emerged today. 

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Responding to Dr Hopkins’ remarks, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the Government has not ruled out relaxing restrictions, such as on foreign travel and self-isolation, for those who have received both vaccines. 

‘I think experts like Susan Hopkins are absolutely right to remind us the evidence is still developing on double vaccinations,’ he told the BBC.

‘It looks great, it looks really encouraging, we’re trying to be as flexible as we can. We will keep on looking at all these proposals and flexes as appropriate.’

About two-thirds of cases are in unvaccinated people, and just one in 13 infections are in those who have received both doses.

So far some 59.5 per cent of British adults have had two doses of a vaccine, while 81.6 per cent have had at least one dose.

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, yesterday said she hopes all over-40s – seven in ten of all adults – will be fully vaccinated when restrictions lift.

So far four in five adults have received one dose and three in five have had both vaccines.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: ‘It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to do their bit in the battle against the virus, protecting themselves, their friends and their family. NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to get jabs in arms.’

Yesterday Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director at London Public Health England, said: ‘We’re just about entering into a final summer sprint, where we’re working with local authorities to get the rates up among everybody over the age of 18, but especially those aged over 40. That’s our number-one focus now.’

Professor Fenton said it was unlikely the capital would have all over-30s double-vaccinated by July 19, but that it was vital they had been given one dose by then.

He said the PHE staff in London were ‘really dealing with hesitancy that people may have about getting vaccinated, it’s safety, or where to get it done’. 

The bookings surge came at the end of a week which had already seen almost 1.8 million appointments made in just three days, after the NHS vaccination programme opened up to people in their early twenties.

Some 692,299 appointments were made on Tuesday when 23 and 24-year-olds became eligible for a jab, with another 635,478 booked on Wednesday when the programme was extended to those aged 21 and 22.

There were another 456,366 appointments made on Thursday, meaning more than 2.5 million appointments were booked in just four days since booking opened to under 25s on Tuesday. 

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘This pandemic has been a challenge for everyone but the various restrictions have hit young people particularly hard.

‘That’s why it’s good news that Covid vaccinations are now open to all adults across the country, and already well over three million people in their twenties have now had their first jab.

‘So if you’re 18 and over and haven’t yet had yours, now’s the time. It’s the single easiest way to protect yourself, keep friends and family safe, and hopefully give us all our summer freedoms back.

‘Please encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same, as we’re now in the race to the finish line.

‘The more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we all are, and the sooner freedom can return.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘It’s incredible to see the enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccination across the country, and it is a testament to the fantastic work of the team in keeping as many people safe from Covid-19 as possible.

‘If you’ve yet to book your appointment, I urge you not to hesitate in getting your jab and securing this protection for yourself and your loved ones.’

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Government data up to June 18 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,679,268 were first doses – a rise of 218,636 on the previous day.  Some 31,087,325 were second doses, an increase of 188,858.

Ministers are today facing calls to relax foreign holiday rules after new data revealed fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid.

Just 89 of the 23,465 people who travelled into the UK from amber list countries at the end of last month and the start of this month had a negative Covid test, NHS Test and Trace shows.

The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data.

And there were no cases classed as being ‘variants of concern’ – Alpha, Beta, Delta or Gamma variants – the figures show.

Ministers say the strict foreign travel rules are there to reduce the risk of dangerous variants from reaching the UK.

But the new figures, which cover the period of May 20 to June 9, have led to more calls to relax restrictions – which have caused havoc on the travel industry.   

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, told the Times that the Government should start relying on its successful vaccine roll-out.

He told the paper: ‘Vaccination and testing are making international travel safer just as surely as they make things safer within our borders.

‘It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving again.’ 

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Currently there are 167 countries on the UK’s amber travel list, including top holiday hotspots such as Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Travellers from amber list countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days on their arrival in the UK, and take two PCR Covid tests. 

These tests are the figures that are provided by NHS Test and Trace. 

The figures also show there were no Covid cases recorded from arrivals from green list countries – of which there are currently 11 destinations including Iceland and Gibraltar.

Arrivals from green list countries do not have to quarantine on their arrival in the UK.

From red list countries, which require entrants to the UK to quarantine in specific hotels, 435 of the 24,511 people arriving from red list countries had coronavirus.

Of those cases, 89 variants of concern were detected. 

It comes as it is revealed today that people who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas.

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Meanwhile Covid cases have risen by a quarter in the last week and another six people have died from the virus, as a SAGE expert warned a ‘miserable winter’ could be on the way.

New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490.

Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases.  

Government data up to June 19 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,964,013 were first doses – a rise of 280,241 on the previous day.

Some 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363. 

However, Professor Calum Semple – a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government – today warned that further lockdowns could be a possibility because of the emergence of new respiratory viruses. 

Professor Semple told Times Radio: ‘I suspect we’ll have a pretty miserable winter because the other respiratory viruses are going to come back and bite us quite hard. 

‘But after that, I think we’ll be seeing business as normal next year. 

‘There’s a sting in the tail after every pandemic, because social distancing will have reduced exposure, particularly of pregnant women and their newborn babies, they will have not been exposed to the usual endemic respiratory viruses.’

He added that the above factors could mean the UK has what he called a ‘fourth wave winter’.    

The professor added: ‘The protection that a pregnant woman would give to their unborn child has not occurred.

‘So we are going to see a rise in a disease called bronchiolitis, and a rise in community acquired pneumonia in children and in the frail elderly, to the other respiratory viruses for which we don’t have vaccines.

‘So that’s why we’re predicting a rough July, August and then a rough winter period.’

Even though he called it the ‘fourth wave winter’, he said it would be much milder than the previous ones.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year.

She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We may have to do further lockdowns this winter, I can’t predict the future, it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.

‘But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter.

‘All of those things allow us different approaches rather than restrictions on livelihoods that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic that happens as part of the respiratory viruses.’ 

Wedding guest list limit of 30 is lifted from TODAY while care home trips and big wakes are also allowed – but rule of six remains and nightclubs stay shut

New lockdown easing measures will be introduced in England today – though not as many as first hoped.

The Government has pushed back its June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks – to July 19 – amid concerns over the Delta variant.

But people in England will be given back some freedoms from today – most of which centre around large scale events and celebrations. 

Here MailOnline looks at what people in England can do from June 21, and what rules will be delayed:

Weddings

July and August are widely regarded as the peak months for weddings in the UK. And for those hoping to get hitched this summer, there is good news.

From June 21, the Government is to lift capacity restrictions on weddings, meaning more than 30 people can attend.

The current rules allow up to 30 people to attend weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

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But venues will now be able to choose a safe number of guests themselves, after carrying out risk assessments.

Weddings organised on private land, such as gardens, will also see capacity limits lifted. 

However, like private venues, organisers will have to carry out risk assessments prior to the wedding.

And you won’t be able to take to the dance floor at the wedding. Though the couple’s first dance is allowed, dancing is ‘advised against due to the increased risk of transmission’ 

Congregational and communal singing is also ‘strongly advised against’. 

Wakes

Like weddings, wakes have been limited to 30 people. But this has been contentious because funeral limits were lifted in May.

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It meant that families could invite an unlimited number of guests to a funeral, but had to limit the number who could attend the wake.

But as of June 21 the limits on wakes will now be lifted, bringing them in line with funerals and weddings.

Care Homes

Indoor visits to care homes, for up to five named guests, were re-introduced in May.

But restrictions have remained for those wanting to leave the care home to visit other people.

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That is changing from June 21. In England, rules on visits outside care homes will be relaxed.

Residents will not have to isolate after spending time away from the care home with family and friends – including overnight stays. 

Boris Johnson said: ‘The requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out of care homes will also be removed in most cases.’

Residents who leave to visit hospital will still have to isolate for 14 days on their return, however. 

Nightclubs

Unfortunately, those hoping for a return to the nightclub dancefloor will have to wait at least another month before they can start busting a move again.

Nightclubs have been closed since March last year, when lockdown was first  announced in the UK.

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And they will not be allowed to reopen until at least July 19 now, after the Government pushed back Freedom Day another four weeks.

Time to put those dancing shoes back on the shelf.

Cinemas and Theatres

Theatre-goers and film-lovers have been able to return to venues since May.

But venues have been restricted in terms of capacity. And those restrictions are set to remain beyond June 21.

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Cinemas and theatres will continue to be limited to 50 per cent capacity, until at least July 19.

Masks

Facemasks still have to be worn in indoor public areas such as shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes, as well as public transport.

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Those who fail to wear a mask without a medical or similar exemption can be fined £200. 

Social Distancing

The rule of six remains in place indoors in England beyond June 21, while up to 30 people are able to meet outdoors.

That will not change until at least July 19.

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Working from home

Many office workers have been preparing to head back to their desk on June 21.

But the Government is not lifting its work from home guidance today.

Instead, the Government will continue to advise people to work from home where possible.

The rule will remain in place until at least July 19. 

Just one in 200 amber list travellers test positive for Covid on their return, figures show as pressure increases on ministers to relax holiday rules

Ministers are today facing calls to relax foreign holiday rules after new data revealed fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid.

Just 89 of the 23,465 people who travelled into the UK from amber list countries at the end of last month and the start of this month had a negative Covid test, NHS Test and Trace shows.

The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data.

And there were no cases classed as being ‘variants of concern’ – Alpha, Beta, Delta or Gamma variants – the figures show.

Ministers say the strict foreign travel rules are there to reduce the risk of dangerous variants from reaching the UK.

But the new figures, which cover the period of May 20 to June 9, have led to more calls to relax restrictions – which have caused havoc on the travel industry.   

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, told the Times that the Government should start relying on its successful vaccine roll-out.

He told the paper: ‘Vaccination and testing are making international travel safer just as surely as they make things safer within our borders.

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‘It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving again.’   

Currently there are 167 countries on the UK’s amber travel list, including top holiday hotspots such as Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Travellers from amber list countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days on their arrival in the UK, and take two PCR Covid tests. 

Ministers consider letting holidaymakers who have received two doses of Covid vaccine skip quarantine after visiting amber list countries 

People who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas, it emerged today. 

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Responding to Dr Hopkins’ remarks, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the Government has not ruled out relaxing restrictions, such as on foreign travel and self-isolation, for those who have received both vaccines. 

‘I think experts like Susan Hopkins are absolutely right to remind us the evidence is still developing on double vaccinations,’ he told the BBC.

‘It looks great, it looks really encouraging, we’re trying to be as flexible as we can. We will keep on looking at all these proposals and flexes as appropriate.’

These tests are the figures that are provided by NHS Test and Trace. 

The figures also show there were no Covid cases recorded from arrivals from green list countries – of which there are currently 11 destinations including Iceland and Gibraltar.

Arrivals from green list countries do not have to quarantine on their arrival in the UK.

From red list countries, which require entrants to the UK to quarantine in specific hotels, 435 of the 24,511 people arriving from red list countries had coronavirus.

Of those cases, 89 variants of concern were detected. 

It comes as it is revealed today that people who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas.

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Meanwhile Covid cases have risen by a quarter in the last week and another six people have died from the virus, as a SAGE expert warned a ‘miserable winter’ could be on the way.

New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490.

Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases.  

Government data up to June 19 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,964,013 were first doses – a rise of 280,241 on the previous day.

Some 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363. 

However, Professor Calum Semple – a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government – today warned that further lockdowns could be a possibility because of the emergence of new respiratory viruses. 

Professor Semple told Times Radio: ‘I suspect we’ll have a pretty miserable winter because the other respiratory viruses are going to come back and bite us quite hard. 

‘But after that, I think we’ll be seeing business as normal next year. 

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NHS chiefs warn ministers must END 'emergency Covid response'

© Provided by Daily MailNHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

‘There’s a sting in the tail after every pandemic, because social distancing will have reduced exposure, particularly of pregnant women and their newborn babies, they will have not been exposed to the usual endemic respiratory viruses.’

He added that the above factors could mean the UK has what he called a ‘fourth wave winter’.    

The professor added: ‘The protection that a pregnant woman would give to their unborn child has not occurred.

‘So we are going to see a rise in a disease called bronchiolitis, and a rise in community acquired pneumonia in children and in the frail elderly, to the other respiratory viruses for which we don’t have vaccines.

‘So that’s why we’re predicting a rough July, August and then a rough winter period.’

Even though he called it the ‘fourth wave winter’, he said it would be much milder than the previous ones.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year.

She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We may have to do further lockdowns this winter, I can’t predict the future, it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.

‘But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter.

‘All of those things allow us different approaches rather than restrictions on livelihoods that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic that happens as part of the respiratory viruses.’

It comes as thousands of Covid-19 jabs are being administered at stadiums and football grounds in London which were transformed into mass vaccination centres.

Giant jab clinics have been set up at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.

Smaller events are also taking place in local community venues in a drive to vaccinate as many Londoners as possible.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was ‘delighted’ to visit Chelsea’s ground at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea FC had 6,000 Pfizer vaccines to administer on Saturday, with the jab being offered to all adults over the age of 18 yet to receive a first dose, as well as those awaiting a second Pfizer dose.

Mr Khan said: ‘Chelsea FC, West Ham at the London Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, are hosting large-scale pop-up clinics, and there are a huge number of events taking place in local community centres, so that as many people as possible get convenient access to the life-saving Covid jabs.

‘You do not need to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated.

‘It is great news that more than eight million doses of the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine have been given to Londoners, and now all adults over the age of 18 are able to get the jab.’

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Environment, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

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2021 Hurricane Message

by Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell

Fellow Montserratians I extend warm greetings to all of you.

  As we begin the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, I want us to take some time to reflect on the past year, and how we have been able to adapt to a world in which COVID-19 has dominated our everyday lives and actions.  It has also reinforced the need for us to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families.

 As we enter the 2021 Hurricane Season, we have to ensure that our desire to protect ourselves and our families are amplified to include hurricane precautionary measures to protect not only human life but also our homes, our businesses, and our infrastructure.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is constant each year; from June 1 to November 30 and Mother Nature does not pause to give us a break because we have been dealing with other matters such as the COVID-19 pandemic; and so, we should not be complacent as it relates to hurricane preparedness. 

The predictions are for another active hurricane season, and while God’s favour and mercies have spared us over the past few years from any direct impact, I urge you to not let down your guard.  Regardless of the level of activity predicted, I want to remind you that it only takes one hurricane to directly impact us and seriously affect us.

Some of us might believe that a hurricane is not a real threat or assume that we will be spared because we have not been directly affected in recent years.  But, I strongly urge you to take all precautionary measures to safeguard your families, businesses and communities.

The Government’s work to protect lives and livelihoods continue, and even as we maintain our efforts on COVID-19, we have also been actively preparing for this hurricane season.  In fact, the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) has been working with key stakeholders, prior to the start of the hurricane season to ensure steps are taken to prepare for any eventuality.

Our government Ministries and departments have been updating their hurricane plans and work to protect our infrastructure has already started as the Public Works Department has been clearing our waterways to reduce the likelihood of flooding.

As I do every year, I encourage you to:

  • Follow the advice from officials at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) – they are our experts in disaster preparedness and response.
  • Stay informed by monitoring communication channels for official information from Government.
  • Update your hurricane preparedness plans for your family and your business. Everyone in your family or business should know what to do and where to go if impacted, and;
  • Pack essential supplies in an Emergency Kit.—Supplies should include non-perishable food and water for everyone in your home, medications, sanitisers, face-covering, items for personal hygiene and batteries.

I encourage you to remember those in your communities who are not as mobile as you are and need your assistance, the vulnerable, elderly and persons with disabilities, please lend them a helping hand.

Do stay safe and look out for each other. 

May God bless and protect us.

June 1, 2021

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcano erupts – thousands evacuate

by Bennette Roach

This is La Soufriere, St. Vincent – may remind of Soufriere Hills, Montserrat

The largest volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent is home to La Soufrière erupted beginning at about 8.30 a.m. “Four days shy of its anniversary on the second Friday on April 9, 2021, in spectacular fashion, sending an ash plume shooting an estimated 52,000 feet into the atmosphere and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Later, what University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists called an “explosive eruption,” reportedly sent plumes over 100,000 feet.

The explosion of ash was so large that it was visible from space on weather satellites. Southwesterly winds carried the cloud of ash over northern parts of St. Vincent and over the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados, as seen from a photo on the front page.

Throughout the weekend, much of the island was covered in ash from the eruptions that continued on through Friday night. By Sunday night, eruptions were firing up again as conditions worsened,

Dozens of residents required rescuing from the northern part of the island as the new dangers place even more islanders at risk.

Richard Robertson, a geologist with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, very well known and remembered having worked for long stints in Montserrat, eventually heading the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, said during a Sunday night news conference that there is evidence of pyroclastic flows, the rush of super-heated gas and debris traveling down the mountainside as fast as 120 miles per hour, in the areas around the volcano.

“These flows are really moving masses of destruction,” Robertson said. “They just destroy everything in its path. Even if you have the strongest house in the world, they will just bulldoze it off the ground.”

The abrupt eruptions continued to launch debris and a cloud of ash into the air throughout Sunday night, leaving its remnants scattered throughout the island.

On Saturday, he said the roughly 110,000 residents of St. Vincent, many of whom have already sought refuge on other islands, should expect to see the largest blast of their lifetimes in the coming days

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible you could have more explosions like these,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to NPR. “The first one is not necessarily the worst one, the first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang.

Very early Sunday morning, the National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO SVG) said on Twitter that a “massive power outage” was underway following another “explosive event” of the volcano. The island-wide power outage began just after 1.00 a.m., local time, on Sunday morning as loud rumblings continued to emit from the volcano, according to News 784 in St. Vincent.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace had been closed due to the smoke and plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere,

The NEMO SVG reported later in the morning that the ash plume had fallen at Argyle International Airport.

The island had been preparing for the eruption, but not the magnitude of it. Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Gonsalves announced in a press conference the evacuation order for residents in “red zones” on the northeast and northwest sides of the island.

This evacuation includes roughly 16,000 people on the island, Ralph Gonsalves @ComradeRalph  said:

I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the RED ZONES on the North East and the North West of the island. All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families.

The Government-led evacuations immediately began, but they were to be assisted by nearby cruise line ships, arriving Friday, to help get people to safety.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations are more complicated than usual.

Gonsalves said in his press conference that people have to be vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship or going to another island. The minister also highly recommended those taking shelter in Saint Vincent be vaccinated.

Flights were canceled at the Argyle International Airport on St. Vincent as well as the Grantley Adams International Airport on the nearby island of Barbados on Saturday, further complicating evacuation efforts.

Even on Friday morning, fresh magma near the surface of the volcano left the sky aglow.

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

The La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has had five explosive eruptions in the past, with the most recent being 1979. There was, however, an uptick in seismic activity more recently in December of 2020.

Gonsalves urged people to be patient and continue to take precautions as experts warned that explosive eruptions from the volcano could continue for days or even weeks, NBC News reported.

In an interview with NBC Radio, Gonsalves said that it could take up to four months for life to return to normal, depending on the extent of the damage. He added that agriculture will be badly affected.

In extremely powerful volcanic eruptions, the ash and aerosols released in the eruption can pass through the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and penetrate into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere.

If enough of the ash and other pollutants released in the eruption make it into the stratosphere, they can influence the climate around the globe. The boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere is about 6 miles (10 km) above the ground, a little higher than where commercial jets typically fly.

Response was immediate from the region

CARICOM governments and especially OECS governments immediately responded to these eruptions by sending and offering assistance to the stricken 16,000 populated area immediately affected by the continuing explosions and eruptive events.

The “Stronger Together Campaign

OECS Commission Launches “Stronger Together Campaign”

The OECS launched the  “Stronger Together Campaign” an Emergency Response for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” is an initiative organized by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission relative to a coordinated approach to assist with relief and recovery efforts on behalf of our Member State, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Donations are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally. All funds (100%) raised via this campaign will be directly transferred to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There is no limit on the value of pledges and contributions. Pledges are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally.

Montserrat had earlier sent one of its MVO scientists in the leadup to the eruption. Christopher Thomas joined other UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists who included Richard (Richie) Robertson with he worked here in Montserrat, for the team that monitored the volcano up to its eruption and after.

Government of Montserrat Officials at Warehouse with Supplies for St. Vincent & the Grenadines

On April 28, 2021 GIU release advised “The Government of Montserrat will deploy a shipment of emergency relief supplies to help address the immediate needs of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines affected by the ongoing eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano.

It informed further: “Twelve pallets of relief supplies from Montserrat’s emergency stockpile containing 7,200- N95 masks, 400 blankets, 200 cots, 140 helmets, water pump and accessories, eight folding tables and push-brooms, will be shipped on April 29, 2021. These were to be collected by the vessel MV Promise Kept to arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines the following day, Friday, April 30, 2021.

The relief supplies from the national emergency stockpile managed by the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), are designed to meet the basic needs of residents staying in Emergency Shelters, overseen by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The move was a follow-up to the GoM’s April 12 announcement that Montserrat will donate humanitarian supplies, contribute $150,000.00 (US$55,555), and establish a local team to provide support to the people of the volcano stricken islands.

Other islands as reported from OECS headquarters

The Government of Grenada will provide $1 million in support for the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to help deal with the impact of the explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano.

Grenada initially pledged to accept hundreds of Vincentian evacuees if they opted for relocation and immediately began making arrangements to do so, in collaboration with St. George’s University. Meanwhile, preparations continue to be made to host evacuees in the event that persons decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

These items include drinking water, water tanks, collapsible water bladders, buckets, portable toilets, sleeping mats, field tents, respirator masks with filters, hygiene kits, disinfectants, and sanitisers.

As the volcanic disaster in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines continues to unfold, regional solidarity is once again at the forefront of relief efforts.

Antigua and Barbuda

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda was among the first and began its response efforts on Thursday, April 8, 2021 after Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne consulted with his counterpart in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonzalves.  It was at this juncture that Antigua and Barbuda agreed to accept 250 Vincentian evacuees who would be accommodated at the Jolly Beach Hotel. The gesture was part of a wider regional response to the developing situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

In addition to accommodation, the GoA extended support and services to evacuees.  While in Antigua, the Ministry of Health will provide medical support; the Transport Board will provide the necessary transportation for official movement; the Ministry of Education will facilitate the education of students; the security forces will provide security as necessary for the well-being of all, and the Ministry of Works will assist with physical security if necessary.

Donations from corporate and civic organizations as well as the national warehouse in Antigua and Barbuda were coordinated through the National Office of Disaster Services.  So far, support has been received from Mega Distributors, the Lion’s Club, Best Buy, the Rotary Club of Antigua, Premier Beverages, GCS Bottling Services Ltd, and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross. These donations, which included water, water tanks, housing supplies, personal care items, mosquito nets, generators, lanterns, flashlights, and relief kits, were shipped in a 20-foot container on April 12, 2021.

World Bank

The World Bank disbursed US$20 million to support the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis posed by the La Soufrière volcano eruption.

The explosive eruption began on April 8 and has required the evacuation of 20,000 people from the high-risk zones around the volcano, both to other parts of Saint Vincent and surrounding countries. Explosions are continuing, and the falling ash is causing air quality concerns and interruptions in electricity and water supply.

The funds are disbursed from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO), approved in June 2020.

Dominica

The Government and people of Dominica continue to stand in solidarity with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and reiterates the support of all Dominicans during the volcanic crisis unfolding on the island, Prime Minister Skerrit said.

Following an eruptive event of ash flow

Before April 12 he conversed with Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and offered support to assist with the evacuation of residents during this natural disaster as the Government worked to confirm logistics and make preparations for the accommodation of a group of Vincentians for a period of up to five months.

All local partners and international organizations on the island are collaborating with the Government and a national response is being finalized.

He said also ‘the expressions of concern and outpouring of support for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been exceptional and reflects the kindness and brotherhood we are known for.’

St Lucia sends assists with transporting stranded OECS workers from St. Vincent

Meanwhile, St. Lucia on the receiving end of ashfall assisted with 139 Stranded Agricultural Workers in the wake of the La Soufriere Volcano explosion. They were farmworkers en route to Canada were part of the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme.

It was reported already that Dominicans have reached out and offered assistance to house individuals who need to be evacuated from St. Vincent. In this regard, a special hotline was established for the general public to offer support for housing or other areas of assistance.

The agricultural workers, 95 Vincentians, 18 Saint Lucians, and 23 Grenadians, were en route to Canada for employment on the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme when their flight from St. Vincent to Canada was canceled. The workers arrived via the Cruise Ship “Serenade of the Seas” on Saturday morning and remained in Saint Lucia for a few days until they were able to board a flight to Canada.

Grenada sends personnel and other support to St Vincent

While wreaking havoc on the lives of residents, many of whom had to evacuate the northern part of the island categorised as the Red Zone, the entire population continued to cope with a myriad of issues, from the destruction of property, livestock, and crops, the presence of volcanic ash which is dangerous to human health, disruptions in telecommunications services to contaminated water supplies. To this end, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) came to the aid of the people of St. Vincent with a donation of bottled water.

La Soufrière Eruption – ECTEL Sends Water to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
https://cdn.uc.assets.prezly.com/c457c8f5-ac3d-4bb1-a9da-c3b11e34733f/-/format/auto/

ECTEL’s Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Millet learned of the urgent need for water.  He said, “ECTEL stands in solidarity with the people…We cannot begin to comprehend the distress they must be feeling, having to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, and now this natural phenomenon.”  The matter of further assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was discussed at the 41st Meeting of ECTEL’s Council of Ministers, the result being a donation of 24 pallets of water departed Saint Lucia on Wednesday, April 14, and arrived in St. Vincent on Friday, April 16. 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM, Volcano, Volcano0 Comments

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Progressives say Biden infrastructure bill isn’t big enough: “We can’t go back to business as usual”

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“This is not nearly enough,” Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez says
By Jon Skolnik
April 1, 2021 5:34PM (UTC)
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden proposed a $2 trillion federal spending package on Wednesday that would revamp the country’s crumbling infrastructure, taking specific aim at pollution, job creation, housing, and corporate taxes. But many on the left who have championed the Green New Deal say the president’s plan isn’t big enough. 

“This is not nearly enough,” tweeted Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, regarding the size of the bill. “The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years. Needs to be way bigger.

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“I think it’s a step towards our vision of a Green New Deal,” Ellen Sciales, a spokesperson for Sunrise Movement, echoed. “But the truth is this does not meet the scale and the scope of what we need to meet the true scale and urgency of the climate crisis.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, likewise called the bill a “fine starting point.”

Under Biden’s current proposal, the federal government would, among other measures, allot $621 billion to transportation infrastructures such as bridges, ports, and roads; put $580 billion toward American manufacturing, job training, and research and development; designate $400 billion to care for elderly and disabled Americans; invest $300 billion into constructing and repairing affordable housing, as well as schools; infuse the U.S. electric vehicle industry with $174 billion, and dedicate $5 billion to repair every lead pipe and service line nationally.

“These are investments we have to make,” Biden said of the bill on Wednesday. “We can afford to make them. To put it another way — we can’t afford not to.”

However, many progressive Democrats have already proposed a spate of separate bills designed to expand the bill’s scope of influence. For instance, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Andry Levin, D-Mich., introduced a bill that would subsidize the purchase of sustainable products made in America. 

The Progressive Congressional Caucus on Monday floated the Transform, Heal and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act, which calls for a $10 trillion investment in green infrastructure, renewable energy, and other climate justice measures over the next decade. The bill heavily addresses racial inequality and dedicates 40% of federal investments to minority groups that have been “excluded, oppressed and harmed by racist unjust practices.”

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“We are facing a series of intersecting crises,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, the bill’s co-sponsor, said. “Climate change, a public health pandemic, racial injustice and economic inequality. We can’t defeat any of these crises alone. We must develop a roadmap for recovery that addresses them all.”

An analysis conducted by the Sierra Club, an environmental nonprofit, found that the THRIVE Act would generate 15 million jobs. The bill is part of a broader push spearheaded by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who unveiled the THRIVE agenda when she was representative for New Mexico. According to Data for Progress, Haaland’s agenda drew broad support from Americans, especially swing voters.

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“We need a plan that will end the unemployment crisis, but we need this plan to also fight systemic racism, protect public health and drastically cut down on climate pollution,” Markey said. “We cannot go back to business as usual. We have a chance to truly, in this moment, to build back better and greener than ever before.” 

Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News. MORE FROM Jon SkolnikFOLLOW @skolnik_jon

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Energy, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

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4 Benefits Of Sleeping With a Garlic Clove Under Your Pillow

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It could be that you live in a time of vampires and werewolves. In this case, sleeping with a clove of garlic under your pillow should also be supported by a silver cross above your bed, holy water at the door, and a wooden stake at your right hand.

If you keep garlic under your pillow below things will happen.

1.Garlic Repels Mosquitoes & Other Bugs

Garlic makes a powerful natural toxic insect repellent. The natural repellent nature of garlic makes it a perfect tool for keeping pests off plants. Garlic water is simple to make and easy to administer. It can be used on vegetables or on flowering plants. keeping garlic under your pillow will avoid mosquitoes and spider bites. mosquitoes attract carbon dioxide when we exhale so eating garlic doesn’t seem to be as effective if u want to repel insects.

2.Garlic Cures Insomnia

Do you suffer from panic attacks or have trouble sleeping? Putting garlic under your pillow will definitely make you have better sleep. this remedy is been used since ancient times. The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of garlic keep the body fluids and organs healthy and infection-free. It also aids in the healthy functioning of the heart and brain, thus regulating the sleep cycle. magnesium and potassium intake will be high if you eat garlic. it relaxes your muscles by producing a chemical called GABA. GABA is the body’s signal that it’s time to calm down, and it chills out your brain cells so that they can begin the restorative work that happens overnight.

3.Garlic An Anti-Bacteria

Fresh, raw garlic has proven itself since ancient times as an effective killer of bacteria and viruses. it is an anti-bacterial agent that can actually inhibits the growth of infectious agents and at the same time protect the body from pathogens. Once again, we can thank allicin. because it is able to block two groups of enzymes that allow infectious microbes to survive in a host body. Garlic can prevent infection inside or outside the body. so having garlic under your pillow at bedtime will make you sick less.

4.Garlic Makes You Breathe Better

Some compounds garlic can be responsible for bad breath and even body odor. These include Allicin. When the garlic is crushed, it turns into allicin, an antibiotic that fights against fungal and bacterial infection. Garlic can also help clear blocked nasal passages if you are suffering from a cold easing nocturnal breathing and reducing snoring, which in turn aids restful sleep, and also you can crush 3-4 garlic cloves into boiling water and inhale the steam. you will breathe easier than before.

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UK heading for post-Brexit BOOM after signing 62 new trade deals worth £900 billion

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BRITAIN is heading for a post-Brexit boom after securing trade deals worth a staggering £900 billion.

By Martyn Brown, Senior Political Correspondent Tue, Dec 29, 2020

Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1377528/brexit-news-UK-EU-trade-deal-latest-boris-johnson-trade-deal-US-canada-australia-liz-truss?utm_source=express_newsletter&utm_campaign=politics_newsletter2&utm_medium=email&jwsource=cl

The colossal figure comes as Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey, meaning the UK now has new agreements in place with 62 countries around the world. And there are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021. Together they could boost the UK economy by at least £100 billion over the coming decade, according to analysts.

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Writing in the Daily Express, former Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, says that the UK’s ability to secure its own trading agreements, free from EU interference, means that the “sunlit uplands” are on the horizon.

She says Boris Johnson’s “phenomenal” £660 billion trade deal with Brussels is the “catalyst for the UK to redefine our place in the world”.

“Let us seize the opportunities that our new position brings,” she says. Let’s use this as a positive push for our post-COVID recovery. The Roaring Twenties can now truly begin!”

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With just three days to go until the Brexit transition period ends Boris Johnson yesterday (Mon) hailed a “new starting point” for the UK’s relationship with the EU.

 Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey

Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey (Image: EXPRESS)

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In a call with European Council president Charles Michel, the Prime Minister welcomed the agreement as a fresh start “between sovereign equals”.

“We looked forward to the formal ratification of the agreement and to working together on shared priorities, such as tackling climate change,” the prime minister added.

It came after ambassadors representing the 27 EU member states unanimously approved the trade deal, which was secured on Christmas Eve just days before the 31 December deadline.

The approval means the trade deal can take effect provisionally, though the European Parliament will formally vote on it in January.

READ MORE: Brexit rebellion: DUP to vote AGAINST Boris trade deal

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada and Australia in the pipeline for 2021

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021 (Image: GETTY)

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MPs will be recalled to parliament to vote on the agreement tomorrow (Wed) and currently, only 10 Tories are expected to rebel.

But Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has urged MPs and peers to abstain from the vote, warning the deal would inflict “lasting damage” on the UK. Labour has also criticised what it described as a “thin” deal.

However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party will support it, meaning it is expected to be approved and come into force on 1 January.

The agreement with Turkey, which will be formally signed later this week, will provide a major boost for the British car industry, manufacturing, and steel industries and lays the groundwork for an enhanced relationship in the future.

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Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve

Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve (Image: GETTY)

Ms. Truss and her team have now agreed to trade deals with 62 countries, alongside the new EU deal – accounting for around £885 billion of UK trade.

More deals with Albania, Cameroon, and Ghana could be agreed in the coming days.

Announcing the deal the International Trade Secretary said: “We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made trade agreement in the near future, as we aim to open new global markets for great British businesses, drive economic growth and improve people’s lives across both countries.

“It will provide certainty for thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries.”

The deal with the EU came just before the UK's transition period ended

The deal with the EU came just before the UK’s transition period ended (Image: GETTY)

The UK is Turkey’s second-biggest export market but Ankara’s customs union with the EU meant that a free trade agreement could not be finalised until a Brexit deal was in place. That raised fears among Turkish producers of white goods, cars, and textiles that their products could face hefty import tariffs and UK border delays if Britain crashed out of the 27-member bloc.

The deal seeks to replicate the trading terms that currently exist between the UK and Turkey, with tariff-free trade on all non-agricultural goods, according to British officials.

The UK has also agreed to roll over the preferential tariffs that Turkey enjoys on some agricultural products under its customs union with the EU.

It follows hot on the heels of a bumper £17.6 billion tie-up with Singapore that will help Britain become a major tech-hub.

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way thousands of new jobs

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs (Image: EXPRESS)

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs. Crucially it gives Britain a foot in the door to joining a wider 11-nation trade deal, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Once fully operational it will account for around 14 percent of global GDP and is worth more than £112 billion.

Boris Johnson has promised Britain will “prosper mightily” outside the EU and Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week said that the new trade deal secured with the EU will usher in a “new era for global Britain”. 

Brexiteer John Redwood, who has indicated he will support the deal in tomorrow’s (Wed) vote, said the opportunities for Britain outside the EU are huge.

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK's fishing demands

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK’s fishing demands (Image: GETTY)

And he questioned the so-called “economic boost” of being in the bloc, suggesting there was only 1.66 percent per year since 1993.

“If we look at the 28 years 1993 to 2020 when we were in the single market and customs union, total growth was 59 percent. 

“That was an annual growth rate of just 1.66 percent.”

Richard Tice, Chairman of Reform/The Brexit Party, yesterday (Mon) questioned some elements of the UK/EU deal but described it as “a giant leap forward”. 

“We are once again a free, sovereign, independent United Kingdom,” he said.

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MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Brexit deal is DONE: Boris Johnson SEALS historic Brexit deal with EU as UK claims to have won TWICE as many concessions as Brussels and von der Leyen laments ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Thursday, Dec 24, 2020 3 P.M.

  • Boris Johnson has finally confirmed that a post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed with the European Union
  • Downing Street insists the pact will ‘take back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and fishing waters’ 
  • The PM and Ursula von der Leyen are understood to have held regular secret phone calls in the last 48 hours
  • Briefing wars about who has won are already ramping up as sides prepare to sell the agreement to their voters

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline and David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent

Boris Johnson today declared that a Brexit deal has been done after four years of desperate wrangling – with a furious propaganda war already underway.

The PM has made history by sealing future trade terms to avert a chaotic split when the transition period ends on January 1, after Lord Frost and Michel Barnier thrashed out a 2,000-page text.

Downing Street said the agreement was ‘fantastic news’ – with Mr. Johnson now set to hold a press conference. 


What happens next? 

After a Brexit deal text was finalised, the next step is ratification by both sides – and there is not much time before the end of the transition period on January 1. 

Next week 

MPs will need to pass legislation putting the deal on the statute book 

With Christmas Day tomorrow, this is likely to happen next week. The Commons will be recalled from its festive break and potentially consider all the stages of a Bill in one day.

The package is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority and Labour has indicated it will at least abstain – if not support the deal. 

Monday? 

Meanwhile, Brussels will short-cut its own processes, with the EU Council of member states expected to grant ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

This has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to sign off the deal if it has already come into effect.

January 1

The new trade terms – or WTO terms if something has gone wrong with the deal – come into effect.  

A senior No10 source said: ‘Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.

‘We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade, and our fishing waters.

‘The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that have ever been achieved with the EU.’

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels that the terms were ‘balanced’. ‘We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road but we’ve got a good deal to show for it,’ she said.

She said the EU had protected its single market and achieved ‘five-and-a-half years of predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivise’ for access to continue afterward. 

Ms von der Leyen said her overriding feeling was relief. ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ she added.

Referencing one of his mantras from the talks, Mr. Barnier said: ‘The clock is no longer ticking.’ 

No10 said the terms meant the UK will not be in the ‘lunar pull of the EU’. ‘We are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved,’ the source said. 

‘It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January, 2021.’ 

The confirmation had been repeatedly put back as the sides argue ‘fish by fish’ over the rules, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’.  

But the battle to sell the package to voters and Tory MPs is in full swing, as Mr. Johnson rings round restive backbenchers.

An internal government assessment insisted that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues in the £660billion package, compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top. 

There will be zero-tariff, zero-quota access to the EU single market – and Mr. Johnson has maintained the ability to diverge from Brussels standards, with no role for the European Court of Justice. 

The document boasts that concessions were secured on rules of origin for goods, customs streamlining, and ‘trusted trader’ schemes, while the financial services sector has been ‘insulated’.  

A deal will also avoid huge disruption on top of the coronavirus crisis. 

However, the UK looks to have given ground on fishing rights, and secured little succour for the services sector.

For its part, France has started boasting that Mr. Johnson made ‘huge concessions’ on fishing in the last stages as the mutant coronavirus variant underlined the vulnerability of UK borders.     

The challenge the PM faces was underlined as Tory Brexiteers vowed to put together a ‘Star Chamber’ of experts to scrutinize the documents over Christmas.

MailOnline understands that Mr. Johnson was ‘very straightforward’ and did not try to give a ‘hard sell’ in his call with senior MPs.

One MP said subject to seeing the full text the outline was ‘what we hoped’. ‘Maybe it will be a happier Christmas after all,’ they suggested.  

Nigel Farage accused Mr. Johnson of ‘dropping the ball’, although he also stressed that it was ‘progress’ and the Brexit ‘war is over’. There are fears that political ‘landmines’ in the text will inevitably be uncovered. 

The FTSE 100 rose 20 points to 6,516 – 0.3 percent – on opening amid optimism about a deal. The pound had already gained around 0.6 percent against the dollar, and 0.4 percent against the euro overnight.   

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels (right) that the terms were ‘fair and balanced’

In more evidence that Mr Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK 'won' on 43 per cent of the major issues - compared to 17 per cent where the EU came out on top

In more evidence that Mr. Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues – compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the 'wins' for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

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The UK government assessment said it had 'insulated financial services from cross-retaliation' in disputes about other areas of the agreement

The UK government assessment said it had ‘insulated financial services from cross-retaliation’ in disputes about other areas of the agreement

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening 

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What were the sticking points in Brexit talks? 

FISHING

The UK insisted throughout that it would take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.

But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.   

Initially, the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 percent of the EU quotas from January 1.

However, Brussels suggested that only 18 percent should be restored.

The two sides are thought to have found a ‘landing zone’ that includes a figure between those and a transition period.

If reports are right that the UK is reclaiming just 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota, phased in over five and a half years, that would look to be closer to the EU position.

However, Downing Street will insist that means the UK can be catching two-thirds of fish in our waters by the year 2026.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD 

The EU insisted the UK should commit to ‘level playing field’ provisions, guaranteeing that it will not undercut businesses with lower environmental standards and regulations.

State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable. 

But the UK said it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector. 

It appeared this area was close to resolution before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments for breaking the rules.

Although the UK is happy with ‘non-regression’ – meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline – it took issue with swingeing unilateral penalties and complained the proposals were ‘asymmetrical’ as the EU would be freer to prop up industries. 

GOVERNANCE

The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.

Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers from the referendum. 

But the EU was pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.

The situation was inflamed by the row over the UK’s Internal Market Bill, which gave ministers the power to override the previous Brexit divorce terms to prevent blockages between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The resolution of that spat is thought to have been critical in hammering out a wider trade deal. 

Hopes had been growing all yesterday after it was claimed the difference between Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier had come down to fish worth the equivalent of a Premier League footballer’s transfer fee.

But the final touches required more input from the political leadership of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen. 

As the propaganda war gets underway, an internal UK government document laid out 65 key issues during the talks – and claimed that Lord Frost had won on 28 of them.

By contrast, the EU was said to have come out on top in just 11. 

The remaining 26 were classified as ‘mutual compromises’ – including the critical area of fishing rights. 

Notably, the assessment states that the package delivers ‘on all the objectives set out by Vote Leave’. 

A senior Tory source told MailOnline the document, leaked to the Guido Fawkes blog, was authentic. However, it is understood Cabinet ministers have not been shown it yet.

However, some experts cast doubt on the assessments, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1.   

JPMorgan said it looked like the EU had secured a deal retaining nearly all of its advantages from trade with the UK, but with the ability to use regulations to ‘cherry-pick’ among sectors where Britain previously had advantages – such as services. 

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said there appeared to be ‘some sort of last-minute hitch’ in the talks – although he said he expected it to be overcome.

Mr. Coveney told RTE Radio the delay related to a section of a fisheries agreement.

‘I had hoped to be talking to you this morning in parallel with big announcements happening in both London and Brussels, but we still expect those later on today,’ he said. 

Brexiteers have already been voicing caution about the terms before they are announced.

Although Labour has already indicated it will not block any agreement – meaning it is effectively guaranteed to pass through Parliament – having to rely on Keir Starmer would be hugely damaging for Mr. Johnson. 

The Tory Eurosceptic ERG group chairman Mark Francois and vice-chair David Jones said: ‘Assuming a deal between the UK and the EU is officially confirmed tonight, the ERG will tomorrow reconvene the panel of legal experts, chaired by Sir Bill Cash, to examine the details and legal text.’ 

Senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin added: ‘Amid the expectation of an EU-UK agreement, ERG MPs will want to wait until we have seen a legal text and we understand what it means if our opinion is to have any credibility.’ 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage did not wait for the terms to emerge, accusing the UK side of ‘dropping the ball’.

‘It sounds like the British team has dropped the ball before the line. No wonder they want a Christmas Eve announcement to hide the fisheries sell-out,’ he tweeted. 

But one No10 aide told Politico that the UK had secured a good deal on fishing. ‘Even before the end of the transition period we will take back control of 130,000 tonnes a year, enough to stretch to the South Pole and back,’ they said. 

‘After that, we can fish and eat every damn fish in our waters.’ 

Climate minister Lord Goldsmith – a close ally of Mr. Johnson and strong Eurosceptic – warned that there is a ‘very large constituency of people who are absolutely longing to trash the deal – and will do so irrespective of its merits’. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that the expected deal would still result in a ‘major negative impact’ on GDP.

She said: ‘Indications a deal is imminent mean many businesses are breathing a sigh of relief.

‘Yet early indications suggest this thin deal will have a major negative impact on GDP.

‘With key industries subject to substantial barriers, these are not the promised ‘exact same benefits’.’

Posting a photo of pizza boxes on Twitter last night, Mr. Mamer said: ‘Pizza has arrived… Is it Frutti di mare? Or Bismarck? Or good old 4 stagione? Suspense…’ 

Downing Street released images of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

Downing Street released images of Mr. Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

The Treasury’s OBR watchdog had warned that No Deal would inflict a further two percent hit on the already struggling economy.  

And Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey suggested the long-term harm to the economy would have been greater than from Covid-19. 

Mr. Johnson conceded that the initial phase of No Deal would be ‘difficult’ – but had insisted the UK would ‘prosper mightily’ whatever happened. 

Chairman of Barclays UK Sir Ian Cheshire said a trade deal with the EU would bring clarity to business.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This was pure politics. It was always the last minute sort of rabbit from the hat.

‘And I’m very glad that it appears we can carry on with… our most important trading relationship.

‘And business can plan. I think that’s been the overriding issue for businesses over the last two years. They are occasionally accused of not being ready, and the question is – ready for what?

‘At least now we have got clarity and we can get on.’ 

Mr. Johnson’s decision to take personal charge of the negotiations at the weekend is believed to have been critical in breaking the deadlock.

‘He knew where his red lines were because he set them – he was completely across the detail,’ one source told the Mail. ‘When it was all over, von der Leyen asked ‘Do we have a deal?’ He replied simply ‘Yes’.’

A last-minute protest by French president Emmanuel Macron – long seen as the biggest obstacle to an agreement, with his demands on fishing rights – is regarded as the one remaining threat. 

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins - although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins – although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Ms von der Leyen's spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the 'suspense' over whether it might be topped with seafood

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it might be topped with seafood

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters 'grab some sleep', with work continuing throughout the night

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters ‘grab some sleep’, with work continuing throughout the night

Below: A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels last night – while pizza was delivered to the EU commission building

A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels tonight
Pizza was delivered to the EU commission building
The Daily Mail
The Times
The Sun
The Mirror

News of the breakthrough was carried on all the front pages today – even though the final haggling is still going on

Shares and pound edge up amid Brexit deal hopes

The London stock market crept up today as investors were buoyed by the UK and European Union being on the threshold of striking a post-Brexit trade deal. 

The FTSE 100 index rose by 0.48 percent or 31 points to 6,527 in early trading this morning, while the pound was up 0.57 percent against the dollar at $1.3584. 

But gains on the markets were tempered by concerns over another new strain of Covid-19, with the UK implementing a travel ban on South Africa and millions more people set to be under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from Boxing Day.   

The pound has strengthened 1.4 percent versus the dollar since 1.30 pm yesterday when Reuters first quoted sources saying that a Brexit deal appeared imminent.

The currency is now heading back towards the two-and-a-half-year high of $1.3625 which was hit last week. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.54 percent at €1.1137. 

Mr. Macron, who faces elections in 2022, has been desperate to keep his powerful fishing industry onside.

His possible challenger in the polls, Marine Le Pen, of the far-Right National Rally, picked up large numbers of votes in 2017.

Tensions rose between London and Paris at the weekend when the French government decided to shut its borders for 48 hours after the emergence of a newer, more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Tory MPs and Downing Street aides speculated that Mr. Macron’s decision was, in part, a means of punishing Britain over its decision to leave the European Union.

But sources close to the French president, a sworn Europhile, angrily denied those suggestions in conversations with the Mail this week.

They said Mr. Johnson’s own dramatic messaging had triggered panic among European governments who simply wanted to stop the spread of the virus.

Diplomats in Brussels said Germany was most concerned about Britain trying to undercut and outcompete European firms after Brexit.

The EU will short-cut its own processes, with the Council of member states granting ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

But EU leaders have to agree the deal unanimously. 

And the curtailed process has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to rubber-stamp the deal if it has already come into effect.  

The agreement covers vast areas of the UK’s relationship with the EU, including trade, security, and travel. 

Despite hopes of confirmation coming last night, the EU and UK teams dug in for a lengthy shift, with pizzas being delivered to the Berlaymont HQ in Brussels. 

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman Eric Mamer posted a picture of the takeaway on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it was topped with seafood.   

Ministers hope the news will boost morale in what looks set to be the toughest of winters. The pound rose sharply yesterday on the back of mounting speculation that agreement was near.

The breakthrough came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a surge of Covid cases would put much of the country under heavy restrictions, probably for months. 

In an emergency statement, he announced that another eight million people would be placed under Tier Four restrictions on Boxing Day. 

That will put the entire South East and much of East Anglia under virtual lockdown.

Mr. Hancock also revealed mounting concern about a new ‘super-strain’ of the virus which has reached the UK from South Africa. 

Government sources said the EU deal would see British fishermen able to land roughly two-thirds of fish in UK waters by the middle of the decade. 

UK gets ‘listed status’ to export animal products to EU – but seed potatoes are out 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the European Union will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the United Kingdom was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5 billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

But a senior Tory predicted the agreement would ‘land badly’ with Eurosceptic MPs. It is understood to involve the EU handing back only 25 percent of its share of quota from UK waters, with the cuts phased in over five and a half years.

MPs are set to be recalled to Parliament to vote the deal through in time for the end of the transition on December 31. The agreement came after days of frantic negotiation. 

Sources claim it was almost derailed when the EU proposed measures they say would have crippled Britain’s drive to become a world leader in electric cars.

‘We have got it to a place we are happy with,’ a source said. ‘It upholds all the principles we said we would not compromise on. Yes, we have made compromises in some areas, but we have not compromised on the fundamentals of taking back control.’

Another senior Tory said the deal would ensure ‘zero tariff, zero quota access to European markets’ alongside security co-operation. ‘There will be no European Court of Justice messing us around,’ the source said.

However, the Prime Minister is braced for accusations of betrayal from Eurosceptic Tories, some of whom had urged the PM to walk away rather than compromise.

The last push for a deal revolved around a compromise over the sensitive issue of fishing in UK waters, with reports suggesting that they could be down to catches worth £60million. 

To put that figure into context, it is considerably less than the £89million that took midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016, which remains the record transfer for a player moving to the top flight in England. 

Fishing rights were the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to reports, the UK has ended up reclaiming 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street insists this will mean UK fleets catching two-thirds of the fish in domestic waters by 2026, but the compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position.

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day 

Angela Merkel is a key powerplayer in the EU
Emmanuel Macron (pictured taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a deal

Angela Merkel (pictured left) is a key powerplayer in the EU. Emmanuel Macron (pictured right taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a Brexit trade deal

Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the EU chief who was once tipped as Angela Merkel’s successor?

Ursula von der Leyen took over as President of the European Commission from Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2019. 

Since then, the start of her five-year term in office has been dominated by two issues: Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 62-year-old is a staunch defender of the EU project and has previously called for a ‘United States of Europe’ with its own army. 

She previously served as defence secretary in Germany and was once viewed as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mother-of-seven has experienced a rapid political rise, only entering politics in her 40s. 

She has a medical degree and studied at the London School of Economics as well as Stanford in the US.

The qualified gynaecologist regularly emerged in opinion polls as one of Germany’s most popular politicians before she made the switch to Brussels. 

She is the daughter of Brussels-born Eurocrat Ernst Albrecht, a senior German politician who worked in the EU Commission in the 1950s. 

She revealed last year that she spent a year in London in the 1970s hiding from notorious German communist terrorists.

She spent 12 months in the ‘seething, international, colourful city’ to avoid the baader-Meinhof Gang, a hard-Left group that carried out a string of bomb attacks and assassinations. 

She came to London after attending university in the German city of Gottingen, with police advising her father, who was PM of Lower Saxony, to move her away. 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the EU will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the UK was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms. Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

Crucially for the breakthrough, Ms von der Leyen is said to have established back channels to German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the EU’s powerbroker – and Mr. Macron

Diplomatic sources said Mr. Barnier had not even been aware of the content of secret talks between the Prime Minister and Mrs von der Leyen on Monday night – suggesting he had become increasingly sidelined in the final days of negotiations.

However, Mr. Barnier has insisted it is ‘normal’ that high-level politicians must make the final moves in such a negotiation. 

The Labour chair of the Commons Brexit Committee Hilary Benn said he has ‘no doubt’ Parliament will approve legislation for a deal if one is brokered before January 31.

The Remain-backing MP told BBC Breakfast: ‘The alternative is no-deal and that really doesn’t bear contemplation at all because of the damage it would do to the economy.

‘What any deal is going to do is to make the consequences of Brexit for business less bad than they would otherwise be.

‘Remember this is the first trade deal in history where one party has gone in knowing it will come out with worse arrangements than it went in with.’

He added: ‘I think not just over the next week but over the next few months, as Brexit actually happens… there are going to be big changes anyway from January 1 whether there is an agreement or not and regardless of what’s in the agreement…

‘Over time we will become more aware of what we can’t now do because we’ve taken it for granted.’

As the crunch point neared, French Europe minister Clement Beaune said a no-deal situation would be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK and suggested the EU should hold out.

‘We should not put ourselves, Europeans, under time pressure to finish by this hour or that day. Otherwise, we would be put ourselves in a situation to make bad concessions.’

But Mrs. von der Leyen is said to have leaned on Mr. Macron and the leaders of other coastal states to accept the deal.

Mr. Barnier told MEPs at a briefing earlier this week that a compromise on fishing would have to be decided by political leaders.

‘We haven’t reached an agreement on fisheries, despite the talks,’ he said. ‘There are subjects that I can’t resolve – only a few which are very political and very sensitive matters – but I can’t resolve them at my level.

‘It is normal at this stage that there are subjects that need to be dealt with by President von der Leyen at her level with Boris Johnson.’

The Prime Minister has admitted to allies that he has made significant compromises in recent days, including on fishing. 

But he warned that he would not go further without movement from the EU. 

Differences also needed to be bridged over state subsidies, where the EU was pushing demands which British negotiators describe as ‘unbalanced’. 

Brussels wanted the right to penalise the UK if it uses subsidies to enable British firms to undercut EU rivals. 

Reports claimed that the latest British offer on fishing would involve the EU sacrificing around 25 percent of its share of quota in UK waters over a five-year period.

It is a big compromise on Lord Frost’s original demand that the EU hand back 60 percent over three years. But it is much more than Mr. Barnier’s offer to hand back just 15 percent over ten years.

It would mean the UK keeping two-thirds of fish in its waters, and quotas are expected to be negotiated annually rather than over a longer period as Brussels had wanted. 

So what’s in Boris’s Brexit deal? PM gives ground to Brussels over UK fish but claims victory over competition rules and EU laws, with an agreement to maintain counter-terror and crime-fighting partnerships 

It’s the document the (political) world has been waiting for – and it’s feared to be no fewer than 2,000 pages long.

This morning EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal, line by line.  

Talks in Brussels were focused on the details of fishing rights but both sides have indicated a Christmas Eve deal will be announced, bringing an end to months of wrangling just a week before current trading arrangements expire.

Some feared it would never materialise. But the world could soon finally see the agreement – which will shape every aspect of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Analysis of the deal-in waiting by the UK Government suggests it ‘won’ in talks on 43 percent of the ‘key issues’ in the talks. It labels a further 40 percent at compromises for both sides, with just 17 percent down as ‘EU wins’.

Almost a year in the making, the deal has involved hundreds of officials working round the clock to agree its terms. So, what are the key areas – and what will we be signing up to?

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal

FISHING

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done.

Fishing rights have been the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to early reports, what we have ended up taking back is 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street says this will mean we are catching two-thirds of the fish in our waters by 2026 – but there is no doubt that this compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position than ours, at least in the short term.

The Government document, seen by the Guido Fawkes website, insists that the situation is a mutual compromise – the UK gave ground on the size of the quotas, the EU gave ground on how long they have access for.

However, perhaps in a bid to save face, French sources suggested the situation was a win for the EU. A French government source said UK negotiators had made ‘huge concessions’ on fisheries.  

But the sides were still said to be arguing ‘fish by fish’ over the rules this morning, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’. 

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. 

The EU was also worried that the UK could give more financial help to its own firms. 

As a result, it demanded a ‘level playing field’ to avoid a race to the bottom on issues such as workers’ rights and environmental regulation. 

It also wanted Britain to continue to accept a slew of EU rules.

The UK said this would pose an ‘existential threat’ to its sovereignty. Britain said it would settle for No Deal rather than face being tied to EU rules after Brexit.

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year
Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9085263/UK-EU-haggling-fish-despite-deal-DONE.html#v-3703796533080378766

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In the end, both parties appear to have agreed a common baseline of regulations on some issues, below which neither side will plunge.

However, the EU has also been insisting that if one side raised standards and the other did not, the latter should be penalised if failure to keep up resulted in unfair competition.

Instead, it is likely the two sides have agreed an independent mechanism to resolve matters if one side diverges too far from common standards. This would ultimately make rulings on retaliatory tariffs in the event of a dispute.

The Government claims it ‘won’ five of the eight key sticking points in this part of negotiations, including EU law, the ability of the UK to set its own subsidy rates, competition, and tax rules.

OVERSIGHT

A related– and thorny – issue is that of the European Court of Justice. British sources indicated that the ECJ will have no say in the resolution of any rows.

This had been a key demand from Westminster, to avoid the erosion of British sovereignty.

Brussels conceded that it could not have the unilateral right to impose penalties on Britain – although it did push hard for a strong and independent arbitration system.

The EU had hoped to punish Britain for ‘breaking rules’ in one area by hitting back in another – allowing them to impose tariffs or taxes in an unrelated sector to inflict the most damage possible. 

TARIFFS

In the end, Britain and the EU appear to have agreed on a zero-tariff and zero-quota regime – a significant victory for Mr. Johnson. Trade with the EU, accounts for 43 percent of the UK’s exports and 51 percent of its imports.

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive.
Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

The prospect of No Deal – and trading with Brussels on World Trade Organization terms, as Australia does – prompted fears of massive extra costs for businesses, which would have been passed on to the public.

As talks reached the sharp end, ministers accepted that No Deal would lead to many staple food items costing more at the supermarket. 

Farmers warned however that they would still face non-tariff costs on exports.

Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts welcomed the EU’s formal listing of the UK as a ‘third country’ – a move which is essential in terms of allowing Welsh food exports to the EU.

‘However, our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three-quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after December 31, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 percent to 8 percent,’ he said.

Mr. Roberts said the full text of an agreement would have to be scrutinised in order to assess the full impacts and benefits, and a number of concerns existed including in terms of seed potato exports.

‘Nevertheless, the Welsh farming industry, like others the length and breadth of Great Britain, will be celebrating Christmas having breathed a huge sigh of relief that a deal seems close to being agreed,’ he added. 

POLICING AND SECURITY

Sources say there has been some level of agreement on the key issue of security co-operation. 

Britain had wanted to maintain the same access to shared databases that it has now – only for the EU to claim this was not an option for non-members.  

Ultimately, the UK appears to have secured greater access than it would have received in a No Deal Brexit.

The UK Government document says the agreement ‘provides for fast and effective exchange of criminal records data between UK and EUMS through shared technical infrastructure (European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS)).’

There will also be a ‘fast and effective exchange of national DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration data’.

The UK also appears to have been given greater access to Europol than other non-EU countries because of its past contribution to the crime agency. There is also a fast-track agreement on extradition. 

HOLIDAYS AND HEALTHCARE

striking a deal means Britons will find it easier to travel to the continent than they would have if talks had failed.

It is also hoped that tourists will have access to hospital treatment when traveling abroad. 

The UK has argued that the European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, should also continue to be valid after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 – sparing tourists the ordeal of arranging their own insurance.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: TIMELINE OF THE BREXIT SAGA 

Boris Johnson and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have agreed that a ‘firm decision’ about the future of Brexit negotiations should be made by Sunday.

As the clock ticks towards the deadline for agreement on a trade deal, here is a look at the key moments in the saga:

January 23, 2013 – Under intense pressure from many of his own MPs and with the rise of Ukip, prime minister David Cameron promises an in-out referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election.

May 7, 2015 – The Tories unexpectedly make sweeping gains over Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and secure a majority in the Commons. Mr. Cameron vows to deliver his manifesto pledge of an EU referendum.

June 23, 2016 – The UK votes to leave the EU in a shock result that sees 52% of the public support Brexit and Mr. Cameron quickly resigns as prime minister.

July 13, 2016 – Theresa May takes over as prime minister. Despite having backed Remain, she promises to ‘rise to the challenge’ of negotiating the UK’s exit.

November 10, 2016 – The High Court rules against the Government and says Parliament must hold a vote to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the mechanism that begins the exit from the EU. Mrs. May says the ruling will not stop her from invoking the legislation by April 2017.

March 29, 2017 – Mrs. May triggers Article 50. European Council President Donald Tusk says it is not a happy occasion, telling a Brussels press conference his message to the UK is: ‘We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.’

April 18, 2017 – Mrs May announces a snap general election to be held on June 8.

June 8, 2017 – There is humiliation for Mrs .as she loses her Commons majority after her election gamble backfires. She becomes head of a minority Conservative administration propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party.

September 22, 2017 – In a crucial Brexit speech in Florence, Mrs. May sends a message to EU leaders by saying: ‘We want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU and UK thrive side by side.’ She says she is proposing an ‘implementation period’ of ‘around two years’ after Brexit when existing market access arrangements will apply.

March 19, 2018 – The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, says he and Brexit secretary David Davis have taken a ‘decisive step’ towards agreeing a joint legal text on the UK’s EU withdrawal but warns there are still outstanding issues relating to the Irish border.

July 6, 2018 – A crunch Cabinet meeting at Chequers agrees with Mrs. May’s new Brexit plans, including the creation of a new UK-EU free trade area for goods. But not all who attend are happy with the compromises.

July 8 and July 9, 2018 – Mr. Davis resigns from the Government in protest while the following day Boris Johnson quits as foreign secretary, claiming the plans mean ‘we are truly headed for the status of colony’ of the EU.

November 14, 2018 – In a statement outside 10 Downing Street after a five-hour Cabinet meeting, Mrs. May says that Cabinet has agreed the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

November 15, 2018 – Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit secretary, saying he ‘cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU’. Other resignations follow.

November 25, 2018 – The 27 EU leaders endorse the Brexit deal.

December 12, 2018 – Mrs May survives an attempt to oust her with a vote of no confidence as Tory MPs vote by 200 to 117 in the secret ballot in Westminster.

January 15, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Brexit plans by an emphatic 432 to 202 in an historic vote which throws the future of her administration and the nature of the UK’s EU withdrawal into doubt.

March 20, 2019 – Mrs. May tells the House of Commons that she has written to Mr. Tusk to request an extension to Article 50 Brexit negotiations to June 30.

March 29, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Withdrawal Agreement for a third time – by 286 votes to 344 – on the day the UK was due to leave the EU.

April 10, 2019 – The EU agrees a ‘flexible extension’ to Brexit until October 31. Mrs May says the ‘choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear’.

May 23, 2019 – Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party comes out on top in the European elections, while the pro-EU Liberal Democrats also make gains.

May 24, 2019 – Mrs May announces she is standing down as Tory Party leader on June 7. She says: ‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’

July 23, 2019 – Mr Johnson is elected as leader of the Conservative Party and becomes the UK’s new Prime Minister after defeating Jeremy Hunt.

August 20, 2019 – The new Prime Minister is rebuffed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker after demanding major changes to Irish border arrangements in a new Brexit deal.

August 28, 2019 – The Queen is dragged into the Brexit row as Mr. Johnson requests the prorogation of Parliament from early September to mid-October.

September 4, 2019 – MPs vote to approve legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit. Mr. Johnson orders a purge of rebel Tories who opposed the Government including former chancellors Philip Hammond and Sir Kenneth Clarke.

The Prime Minister attempts to trigger an early general election but fails to get the required support of two-thirds of MPs.

September 24, 2019 – The Supreme Court rules that the PM’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament until October 14 was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating Parliament.

October 2, 2019 – Mr Johnson puts forward his formal Brexit plan to the EU, revealing his blueprint to solve the Irish border issue.

October 10, 2019 – Mr Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say they can see a ‘pathway to a deal’, in a joint statement after key talks at a luxury hotel in Cheshire.

October 17, 2019 – After intense negotiations, the Prime Minister announces the UK has reached a ‘great deal’ with the EU which ‘takes back control’ and means that ‘the UK can come out of the EU as one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, together’.

October 19, 2019 – In the first Saturday sitting of the Commons in 37 years, Mr. Johnson seeks the support of MPs in a ‘meaningful vote’ on his new deal but instead they back an amendment forcing him to seek a delay.

October 22, 2019 – The Prime Minister mounts an attempt to fast-track his Brexit deal through Parliament but puts the plans on ice after MPs vote against his foreshortened timetable.

October 28, 2019 – EU leaders agree to a second Brexit ‘flex tension’ until January 31 unless Parliament ratifies the deal sooner.

October 29, 2019 – Mr. Johnson finally succeeds at the fourth attempt in winning Commons support for a general election on December 12.

December 12, 2019 – Having campaigned on a promise to ‘get Brexit done’, Mr Johnson secures a landslide win at the election and with an 80-seat majority.

January 8, 2020 – New European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visits No 10 to warn Mr. Johnson the timetable for a post-Brexit trade deal is ‘very, very tight’. The Prime Minister is clear however there will be no extension to the transition period, which expires at the end of 2020.

January 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson gets his Brexit deal through the Commons as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is given a third reading with a majority of 99.

January 31, 2020 – A clock projected on the walls of Downing Street counts down the moments to the UK’s departure from the EU at 11 pm.

March 2, 2020 – Mr. Barnier and Mr. Johnson’s chief EU adviser David Frost open formal talks in Brussels on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, including a free trade agreement.

March 12, 2020 – The two sides announce they are suspending face-to-face talks due to the coronavirus pandemic and will explore the options for continuing the negotiations by video conferencing.

June 12, 2020 – Cabinet office minister Michael Gove formally tells the EU the UK will not sign up to an extension to the transition period, but he backtracks on plans to immediately introduce full border checks with the bloc on January 1.

September 10, 2020 – The European Commission threatens the UK with legal action after ministers announce plans for legislation enabling them to override provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland in breach of international law.

October 16, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says he is halting talks on a trade deal accusing EU leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels of seeking to impose ‘unacceptable’ demands.

November 7, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen agree to ‘redouble’ their efforts to get a deal while acknowledging that significant differences remain over fisheries and the so-called ‘level playing field’ for state aid rules.

December 4, 2020 – Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier announce in a joint statement the conditions for an agreement had still not been met and negotiations will be put on ‘pause’ to allow political leaders to take stock, with Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen to engage in emergency talks.

December 7, 2020 – In a key move to ease tensions, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and EU counterpart Maroš Šefčovič settle the row over the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning planned clauses that would have overridden the divorce terms are dropped.    

December 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen dine at the European Commission, with talks between the two leaders lasting around three hours.

They warned ‘very large gaps’ remain, but authorised further discussions between the negotiating teams, with a ‘firm decision’ due on Sunday.

December 10, 2020 – Ms von der Leyen pushes the button on the EU’s No Deal contingency plans. Mr. Johnson warns No Deal is now a strong possibility. 

December 11, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says No Deal is ‘very very likely’ and the most probable outcome from the standoff.

December 16, 2020 – At the last PMQs of the year, Mr Johnson insists the UK will ‘prosper mightily’ whatever the result of the talks.

December 17, 2020 – MPs are sent home for Christmas with a warning that they will be recalled if a Brexit deal needs to be passed into law before January 1. 

December 19, 2020 – Mr Johnson announces that a mutant version of coronavirus has been identified in the UK. A host of countries impose travel restrictions, with France saying no freight will be allowed in for 48 hours. It sparks fears over supermarket shortages, although Brexiteers complain it is partly strong arm tactics in the negotiations. 

11 p.m. December 31, 2020 – The Brexit transition period will end and the UK will be under new trade – or WTO – terms. 

Read more:

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UK and EU ‘are haggling over every fish’ despite deal all-but DONE

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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14-day quarantine period required for all travelers to Montserrat

As the Government of Montserrat (GoM) continues its vigilance in attempting to keep the island COVID-19 (and any variant thereof) free after its demonstrated ignorance or its lacking of alertness at the beginning and before the pandemic announcement.

According to the following release of a decision, “in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe,” GoM has decreed that all persons “traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days…”

The release dated Wednesday, December 23, 2020, follows:

 –  As of 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, all persons traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

This decision was made in Cabinet this morning, in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and which Health Experts say can spread more quickly than prior strains of the virus. 

As a result, Cabinet has decided that, except for those classes of people who are specifically exempted under S.R.O 80 of 2020, all other individuals arriving in Montserrat must quarantine for the full 14 days, including those staying in Government approved quarantine facilities.

Those exempted from the quarantine requirement are: Non-Resident Technicians granted permission to travel to Montserrat; a member of the crew of an aircraft or ship; and a person who has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster.

Individuals traveling to Montserrat are reminded that a negative PCR COVID-19 Test and pre-travel registration are still required prior to entering Montserrat.  The PCR COVID-19 Test must be undertaken no earlier than seven days prior to entering Montserrat.

Members of the public are also urged to continue practicing the recommended health and safety precautionary measures, to include wearing a face covering, social distancing, and sanitisation.

As the Government of Montserrat (GoM) continues its vigilance in attempting to keep the island COVID-19 (and any variant thereof) free after its demonstrated ignorance or its lacking of alertness at the beginning and before the pandemic announcement.

According to the following release of a decision, “in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe,” GoM has decreed that all persons “traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days,”

The release dated Wednesday, December 23, 2020, follows:

 –  As of 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, all persons traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

This decision was made in Cabinet this morning, in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and which Health Experts say can spread more quickly than prior strains of the virus. 

As a result, Cabinet has decided that, except for those classes of people who are specifically exempted under S.R.O 80 of 2020, all other individuals arriving in Montserrat must quarantine for the full 14 days, including those staying in Government approved quarantine facilities.

Those exempted from the quarantine requirement are: Non-Resident Technicians granted permission to travel to Montserrat; a member of the crew of an aircraft or ship; and a person who has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster.

Individuals traveling to Montserrat are reminded that a negative PCR COVID-19 Test and pre-travel registration are still required prior to entering Montserrat.  The PCR COVID-19 Test must be undertaken no earlier than seven days prior to entering Montserrat.

Members of the public are also urged to continue practicing the recommended health and safety precautionary measures, to include wearing a face covering, social distancing, and sanitisation.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Environment, Featured, Government Notices, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

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