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XXL

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  1. https://www.ft.com/content/5c2602b4-be63-11e9-b350-db00d509634e Boris Johnson has accused former chancellor Philip Hammond of undermining the government’s strategy with a “terrible collaboration” with the EU to thwart the UK’s departure from the bloc. During the first “People’s PMQs” — a Facebook Q&A where the prime minister answers questions from members of the public — the prime minister delivered a coded critique of MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit, such as Mr Hammond, who have taken a public stand against his strategy. “There’s a terrible collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” Mr Johnson said.
  2. Philip Hammond, until recently Chancellor of the Exchequer "leaving the EU without a deal would be just as much a betrayal of the referendum result as not leaving at all" He has accused Boris Johnson of shutting down any hope of securing an agreement. But the prime minister’s team continues to argue that Britain must leave the EU by 31 October. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/philip-hammond-to-say-that-people-voted-for-hard-brexit-simply-isnt-true-l82rhd3cm The new government took office three weeks ago, I and many of my like-minded colleagues have chosen to keep quiet and give the prime minister the time and space to set out his plan to deliver a Brexit deal. But now it is time to reiterate our support for Boris Johnson to deliver on his public and private commitments towards a deal and his assurance that no-deal is a “million-to-one” chance. The early signals are not encouraging. The move from demanding changes to the backstop to demanding its total removal is a pivot from a tough negotiating stance to a wrecking one
  3. The Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said a no deal Brexit scenario would be an instantaneous shock not just to demand but to supply
  4. Passengers were shut out of some of the country’s busiest train stations during the Friday evening rush hour after large parts of England and Wales were left without electricity following a major power cut Transport chaos across England and Wales after major power cuts Transport and communications infrastructure, homes and businesses suffered power cuts this evening in large parts of the country. The National Grid said issues with two generators brought blackouts to London and the South east as well as the Midlands, the South West and Wales, the North East and North west of England too. They said the issue was 'now resolved'.
  5. Tesco to cut 4,500 jobs across 153 Metro stores https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49239916 Supermarket giant Tesco says about 4,500 staff in 153 Tesco Metro stores are set to lose their jobs in the latest round of redundancies. The UK's largest grocer said changes to the way the stores operated would "serve shoppers better" and help to "run our business more sustainably". It said the stores were operating in an increasingly competitive and challenging retail environment. Tesco boss Jason Tarry said the firm did not take the jobs decision lightly. 'Cost pressures' The company said the Metro format was originally designed for larger, weekly shops, but now nearly 70% of customers used them as convenience stores, buying food for that day. Tesco, which employs about 340,000 people in the UK and Republic of Ireland, said that changes to the stores would now include: "faster and simpler" ways of filling shelves, with fewer products stored in the back rooms and more stock going straight to the shop floor staff working "more flexibly" across the store to improve customer service at the busiest times of the day and in the right areas of the store "leaner" management structure. "In a challenging, evolving retail environment, with increasing cost pressures, we have to continue to review the way we run our stores to ensure we reflect the way our customers are shopping and do so in the most efficient way," Mr Tarry added. Tesco Metro shops are sized between Tesco superstores and Tesco Express shops. They first opened in 1994. Tesco raises prices on 1,000 products. Tesco profits jump in uncertain market. Tesco counter cost cuts to hit 9,000 jobs. It is also making some changes in 134 of its 1,750 Express stores, where customer footfall is lower. Changes in those stores will include "a slight reduction in opening hours during quieter trading periods at the start and end of the day, and simplifying stock routines". Tesco is in the midst of trying to save £1.5bn as the competition between supermarkets intensifies. It comes as German budget rivals Aldi and Lidl continue to put pressure on the big four supermarkets. In January, Tesco announced it would close food counters in 90 of its stores as part of a wider cost-cutting plan that would affect 9,000 staff. Tesco said then that its remaining fish, meat and deli counters in 700 stores would be run on a full-time or flexible basis. It has also opened a discount chain, Jack's, to take on its German rivals.
  6. And by the way, violence, racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism (of any creed and persuasion), aggression are all interconnected aspects of the same root problem. What the US does externally, whether a Democrat or Republican is sitting in the White House makes little difference in substance, is a reflection of those very internal problems they have What Madonna highlighted 29 years ago in this rather peculiar Nightline interview is as valid now as it was then, so current, the cultural hypocrisy of the entire American system is quite staggering Why does violence gets to be glorified at all times, yet it is not possible to display two consenting adults showing affection to each other (among other things), says it all really, the paradox indeed
  7. Absolutely For a country that has given so much to the world it is also a country that is culturally backwards in more than one sense. And the ridiculous God Bless America mantra, tragic and ignorant, it is time some people realised that the United States is not the be all and end all of the world. Assuming the existence of a God and given the definition of the concept and word why would God favour any country over another? beyond dumb, it reminds me of those footballers doing the cross sign before hitting the ball, pathetic The first thing that countries like the US, the UK, Israel, France, Italy, Germany etc should start doing is to finally stop antagonising moderate and secular Muslim countries while ironically they keep pumping gazillions worth of arms sales into the hands of Saudi Arabia and the likes, that are actually the ones fostering violence and extremism among Islam. It just makes no sense whatsoever, if not that feeding instability serves the elites in their little petty geopolitical chess play. From before 9/11 to all that much more after it And they have the nerve to call out China, Russia and Iran (or Syria) for that matter, all countries that have not attacked (illegally too, I might add) any other country in 200 years of history, which is not exactly the same for the US, the EU and NATO is it now? But of course so many people actually do revel in the ignorant and self serving democracy exportation false ideology they love selling to the sheep Truth is Washington knows the clock is ticking and they resort to their usual pathetic book of tricks. See constant and decades long interference with South American countries, see Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela etc Never mind China holds so much of the US debt they could pull the plug any time would they wish too. Twenty trillion dollars worth of debt resulting from decades long excessive military spending rather than putting money into the education of its citizens. Instead you have a university system where you pay $200k a year and still have not learned a thing, then again for those who can afford such a ridiculous fee they don't need to learn a thing because they are already elite born and elite serving individuals.
  8. Totally agree. He's even worse than May. Or that Jeremy Hunt. Way worse. And that says it all really His faux erudition and him quoting Latin makes me laugh. He's another full on moron. The typical star of a rug press genre of audience As a Foreign Secretary to say what he said, did and his general disposition were absolutely appalling is the understatement of the century. Totally incompetent to the point of being dangerous. Not radical and easily swayed my ass
  9. She disappeared at 15. A cryptic tip-off in the Vatican could hold the key to her case Rome (CNN)On a sweltering summer's evening in 1983, a 15-year-old girl packed her flute and walked out of her family home inside the vast walls of Vatican City. Emanuela Orlandi had made this journey, from her apartment to a music lesson in central Rome, countless times before. The daughter of a prominent Vatican employee, her father Ercole worked as a clerk in the pontiff's household, Emanuela would take the bus outside the holy city to classes at Sant'Apollinare basilica. Her older brother Pietro remembers theirs as a charmed childhood: the Vatican's spectacular gardens were their playground, and Pope John Paul II would stop by and talk to the youngsters having fun on the manicured lawn. "We thought we were in the safest place in the world," he said, explaining that the city was more like a village, inhabited by a closely-knit group of around six families. But on this particular day, June 22, Emanuela never returned home from her music lesson. What followed is a mystery that has gripped Italians for more than three decades, inspiring conspiracy theories involving everyone from mobsters to international terrorists and the highest echelons of the Vatican. Pietro Orlandi, today in his 60s and with a shock of white hair, has relentlessly pursued each lead in a 36-year campaign to reveal what happened to his beloved sister. Now he hopes to find the answer in a small graveyard, just a few hundred meters from where their mother Maria still lives, inside the city walls. Look where the angel is pointing On Thursday the Vatican began an operation exhuming two tombs inside the Teutonic Cemetery, a pretty courtyard adjacent to the grand Saint Peter's Basilica, which is reserved for the burials of German-speaking Catholics. Like so much of the Vatican and its institutions, the graveyard is largely hidden from the public, tucked in behind high walls and glimpsed only through ornate metal gates. In summer last year, the Orlandi family received the latest in a long list of anonymous tipoffs: A photo of an angel sculpture, and an instruction to "look where the angel is pointing." The message led the family to two tombs inside the Teutonic Cemetery. After campaigning from the Orlandis, the Vatican announced earlier this month it would exhume the contents of those tombs. "Until I don't find Emanuela's body, for me it's a duty to look for her alive," Orlandi told CNN, ahead of the exhumation. If his sister's remains are there, it is "at least part of the truth," he added. "Then I would like to know the reasons why." "Even if nothing was to be found, it cannot be the end of the story," he said. The operation is a complex one, involving Vatican security forces, construction workers and machinery, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said last week. Any bones found during the search would have to undergo laborious DNA analysis, which could take weeks, he added. Turning point in investigation Over the years, the wider investigation into Emanuela's disappearance has been handled by Italian authorities. But the Vatican has said it will handle those parts of the probe that concern its territory -- such as Thursday's exhumations. The search at the Teutonic Cemetery signals an important turning point in the Vatican's investigation, Orlandi said: "The Vatican has never collaborated with the investigators, with us family members." "They have always denied the possibility that there may be responsibilities within the Vatican, have always said that they gave everything they had and hid nothing." CNN reached out to the Vatican for comment but had not received an answer at the time of publication. Shortly after Pope Francis assumed the papacy in 2013, Orlandi said he briefly met the new pontiff, who told him: "Emanuela is in heaven." His words "froze my blood," said Pietro, "to hear a Pope say Emanuela is dead." But he also hoped for the first time there was a "will to collaborate and get to the truth." Orlandi said he had since made numerous requests to meet with the pontiff and get a further explanation, but that his attempts came to nothing. Fiorenza Sarzanini, a journalist with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, who has followed the case closely for decades, had a different take on the Vatican's apparent change of heart. "I fear that the Vatican has decided to open the tombs because they know that there is nothing inside," she said. "And this will definitively put an end to the claims of the Orlandi family. "To satisfy this request by the family -- and in such a public way, with a press release from the Vatican press office -- serves to deflect the suspicious that the Vatican State secretary knows more about the case." All roads lead to the Vatican Over the years there have been countless theories about what happened to Emanuela, none of which has ever been proven. One witness reported seeing a girl who fitted her description getting into a dark green BMW near the music school on the evening she disappeared. The lead was never corroborated. In the days after Emanuela disappeared, her parents received anonymous phone calls from someone promising her safe return if the Vatican released Mehmet Ali Agca -- a Turkish national who had shot Pope John Paul II in an assassination attempt two years earlier. Again, this lead came to nothing. Then in 2012 authorities searched the tomb of mobster Enrico "Renatino" De Pedis, who was buried in Sant'Apollinare basilica -- near to where Emanuela was last seen -- after a tip-off suggested it held a clue to her disappearance. No evidence was found, but questions remain. "The most incredible thing is that the Vatican has never explained why the mobster, Renatino De Pedis, was buried inside the church of Sant'Apollinare ... an important church in the center of Rome, " said Sanzanini. Of all the different investigations, there is one "common thread," said Orlandi: "The Vatican." "Every type of clue has always led to the Vatican," he said. But "they have always asked the Italian authorities to investigate because according to them (the abduction) happened on Italian soil." Despite years of fighting for the truth, the Vatican still has a unique place in Orlandi's heart. "For me it has always been, and perhaps still is, part of my family." This story has been updated to correct the date the family received the tipoff about the Vatican tombs. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/11/europe/vatican-missing-girl-emanuela-orlandi-intl/index.html
  10. Theresa May's final Number 10 Interview
  11. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48973861 Scotland Yard has been criticised for warning media organisations against publishing leaked government documents. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu advised editors it "could be a criminal matter". His comments came as a criminal investigation was launched into the leak of diplomatic emails from the UK ambassador in the US, Sir Kim Darroch. Evening Standard editor George Osborne described Mr Basu's statement as "stupid" and "ill-advised". The investigation was launched by the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, which takes national responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act. "The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause, may also be a criminal matter," said Mr Basu. He added: "I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government." Mr Osborne, the former chancellor, tweeted that to maintain credibility the Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, should distance herself from "this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom". Other newspaper editors and MPs were also critical of Mr Basu's statement. Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman asked if Ms Dick had cleared the "sinister, absurd, anti-democratic statement... threatening journalists with arrest for printing government leaks?" He added, on Twitter: "Do you have any comprehension of a free society? This isn't Russia." Peter Spiegel, Financial Times US managing editor, wrote: "Well, this is rather chilling from a major police force in a western democracy. What are you going to do, Met Police, arrest us?" Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he defended "to the hilt" the right of the press to publish leaks if they "judge them to be in the public interest".
  12. Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson clash over Brexit in first and only televised debate before a new Tory PM gets appointed in two weeks time
  13. Absolutely And isn't it ironic that she's likening the EU to an an enslaving, undemocratic organisation when she is occupying an institutional seat representing a country that historically has enslaved and colonised and pilfered everywhere in the world? Like France, Spain, Portugal and Italy too on a smaller scale. All done with the Roman Catholic Church blessing with its vast commercial interests through the centuries The irony being that most Brexiteers and casual British citizens from rural areas seem to be wallowing in some kind of nostalgia for those very same Empire days, never mind Britain joined the EU because the economy sucked in the mid 70s, they were happy to enjoy the hand outs for four decades then they suddenly discovered they want to only enjoy the benefits of club membership but not bear the obligations that all other 27 member states subscribed to. They kept the sterling and were even allowed to opt out of Schengen, what more do those people in the British institutions that are so averse to this supernational entity want? What should countries like Italy, Greece, Spain and by a lesser degree France, say or complain about since they have been plagued by serious immigration problems with real numbers and vexed by the International Monetary Fund too It's so ridiculous and rather transparent
  14. He sounds and looks like a genius really, doesn't he? I can't when he occasionally starts quoting Latin and Ancient Greek, all wrong of course Probably the next useful idiot the powers that be are set to utilize in order to introduce new policies that will give even more powers to corporations, set higher taxation levels, continue the steady dismemberment of the working and middle classes, justify military interventionism under the guise of exporting democracy and eradicating terrorism (while the US, the UK, France and Italy are ironically the biggest bankrollers, weaponry providers and net contributors to all the lovely Gulf countries that are the ones to actually export and sponsor violent groups and toxic ideology) and basically take away more rights to privacy of common citizens
  15. The former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe has likened the UK’s departure from the EU to the emancipation of slaves, as she became the first Brexit party MEP to speak in the new European parliament. With her leader, Nigel Farage, on her right, Widdecombe said the recent negotiations among the EU’s heads of state and government over the leadership of the bloc’s institutions confirmed the need for Britain to leave. “It’s not democratic at all and that is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place, hopefully on Halloween,” Widdecombe told a plenary session of the European parliament in Strasbourg. “If that’s this place’s idea of democracy that’s a serious betrayal of every country represented here.” Widdecombe, who was criticised this month for claiming science might “produce an answer” to being gay, said the UK’s departure from the EU equated to a liberation. She said: “There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on their oppressors, slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against empires, and that is why Britain is leaving … It doesn’t matter which language you use, we are leaving and we are pleased to be going. Nous allons [sic], wir gehen, we are off!”
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