HANDSY ANDY: Prince reportedly ‘particularly fond’ of two women massaging him


A new report claims that embattled Prince Andrew was “particularly fond” of having two young women massage him at the same time.

Andrew also allegedly was known to encourage slinky models to sit on his lap at high society soirees.

The new claims come in the wake of the Duke of York’s disastrous TV interview and Virginia Roberts detailing her alleged underage sexual relations with him.

An anonymous former pal told online magazine Airmail that the prince was notorious at parties.

“Sexy young models” would cuddle with him and call him “Andy, darling.”


From left, Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

A woman named Lucy who dated the prince told the online magazine “(Andrew) said he was particularly fond of four-handed (massages), where two women work on you at the same time.

“When the mention of a foot massage came up in the (BBC) interview, I immediately thought, ‘Yes, that’s him.’”

While she said the prince was “always gentlemanly,” he was also consistently tight-fisted and had a reputation in high-flying circles as a cheapskate.

“I suggested one evening that we go to the cinema. He said, ‘Great, how many tickets have you bought?’ I was slightly taken aback, so I said I would buy two, but he said we would need seven in total to include his security,” Lucy said.


Billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein and the socialite accused of being his sexual procurer, Ghislaine Maxwell.

GETTY IMAGES

The latest allegations come hot on the heels of statements made in court papers by Roberts in August resurfacing, claiming Andrew’s pal and Jeffrey Epstein’s so-called “pimp,” Ghislaine Maxwell, also had sex with underage girls “virtually everyday.”

Publishing heiress Maxwell has denied any impropriety.

In court in 2015, Roberts was questioned: “It is your contention Ghislaine Maxwell had sex with underage girls virtually every day, correct?”

Roberts replied: “Yes. There’s a lot of girls that were involved.”

Epstein, 66, was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

 



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‘That’s no joke’: Taking aim at Trudeau, Trump’s campaign chief compares U.S. job numbers to Canadian losses


For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it seems the fallout from his Buckingham Palace video slip-up is set to run and run.

In the days since the PM’s unguarded remarks showed him cracking a joke at U.S. President Donald Trump’s expense at a NATO summit in England, he has found the clip being used both by Trump’s allies and foes to further their own needs.

At a reception on Tuesday evening, Trudeau was caught on camera with France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Boris Johnson and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands laughing at Trump’s long press appearances. “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” said Trudeau. Trump said the clip showed Trudeau was “two-faced.”

In a news conference after the summit, Trudeau said his “jaw drop” comment had been referring to Trump’s unexpected announcement that the next G7 summit will take place at Camp David and he had meant no offence.

However, that doesn’t seem to have appeased the Trump side, and on Friday Trudeau was taken to task by Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.


Brad Parscale, campaign manager for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign, attends a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Bossier City, LA, U.S., November 14, 2019.

REUTERS/Tom Brenner

On Friday Bloomberg reported that Canada’s job market weakened, unexpectedly, for the second month in a row. Citing Statistics Canada figures, Bloomberg reported that Canada shed 71,200 jobs in November — the biggest drop since 2009. In total, Canada has added 285,100 jobs in 2019.

Pouncing on the November drop Parscale, citing Bloomberg reporting run online by the Financial Post, highlighted the fact that American job gains under Trump compare favourably to Canada’s numbers. The most recent U.S. Labor Department figures show the U.S. gained 266,000 jobs in the same month.

“Let’s see,” Parscale wrote in a post on both his Twitter and Facebook accounts, the latter of which was shared by Trump’s own Facebook page.

“President Trump is fighting for America and our economy just ADDED 266,000 jobs. Justin Trudeau was laughing it up in London and the Canadian economy just LOST 71,200 jobs. That’s no joke. Trump wins. Again.”

Parscale’s stinging rebuke came soon after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had chimed in on Trudeau’s gag, posting a campaign video to Twitter in which he used the Buckingham Palace clip to take down Trump, suggesting he is a laughingstock to other world leaders.

“The world is laughing,” read the text over that clip and others of Trump’s trips abroad. “We need a leader the world respects.”

As of Thursday evening, Biden’s Twitter video had garnered more than nine million views. The campaign soon posted it to Facebook and told Reuters it was also promoting it to likely caucus-goers in the early presidential nominating state of Iowa on Instagram, YouTube and Hulu.

The Biden campaign also used the video in a fundraising pitch on Thursday, asking supporters to help turn the online ad into a TV spot.

— with files from Reuters and Bloomberg



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Ontario high school teachers to target certain boards with one-day strike next Wednesday


Ontario’s public high school teachers will hold another daylong walkout next Wednesday, a week after their first strike.

But this time, instead of all 60,000 members hitting picket lines, certain boards across the province will be targeted, including the Toronto District School Board.

That same day, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, which is in a legal strike position, will step up its work-to-rule protest by refusing to do many administrative duties though children will be in classes.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association can legally strike as of Dec. 21, but said no job action has yet been planned.

Next week’s first rotating strike is meant to ramp up the pressure on Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government as negotiations have hit an impasse with no talks planned.

About one-quarter of teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will take part in the job action — including the 7,000 members in Toronto.

“We are disappointed and mystified at the government’s apparent indifference to the legitimate and well-documented concerns of parents, students, and educators alike,” union president Harvey Bischof said Friday.

“Owing to that indifference, our efforts at the bargaining table and our job actions to this point have yielded virtually no progress. We have no choice but to continue our efforts,” said Bischof.

“We have taken as responsible and measured approach as we possibly can. The long-term damage that this government will impose on the education system is far worse than what will arise from the actions we’re taking.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said it was “totally unacceptable” that the union was turning up the heat on the Tories.

“We stand with parents against escalation,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park.

Lecce said the main issue in talks is salary, with the province offering one per cent — in line with recent wage-cap legislation it passed — and OSSTF seeking cost of living increases, or about two per cent.

The minister insisted it would eventually cost the province an additional $1.5 billion annually by the fourth year of a deal to give all education unions raises at the rate of inflation.

He repeatedly noted the OSSTF members earn an average of $92,000 a year.

Bischof said teachers “absolutely understand that our targeted job actions create a temporary disruption for the students and families affected.”

“By contrast, the Doug Ford agenda, if it is allowed to be implemented, will create long-term disruption for students across the entire education system, and leave publicly-funded education in Ontario deeply and permanently damaged.”

NDP MPP Marit Stiles (Davenport) said Lecce “has misled Ontarians” throughout the labour strife.

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Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter (Scarborough-Guildwood), a former education minister, said kids “are going to lose another day in school” because the Tories are not being “respectful” to teachers, parents, and students.

The OSSTF said each “quadrant” of the province will be represented in the one-day strike. Some elementary schools will also be impacted, as well as Catholic and French boards.

Bischof emphasized the government’s planned changes will impact the quality of education in the province. It opposes boosting class-size averages from the current 22 to 25, a move that will lead to the loss of thousands of teaching positions as well as course options for teens.

That is down from the province’s original plan for an average of 28.

“Yes, they’ve moved. They’ve moved in the wrong direction. They’ve moved to bigger classes than we currently have. They’ve moved on e-learning from this year’s zero mandatory e-learning courses to two.”

Teachers oppose two mandatory online courses — a requirement that is to begin next fall with the incoming Grade 9 incoming class, with the union instead proposing a panel to study the effectiveness of such a move.

Two courses would be an anomaly in North America, where only a handful of American states require or encourage just one.

The Conservatives had originally proposed four e-learning courses in high school.

Along with the Toronto District School Board high schools, OSSTF members will hit the bricks in the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District, Grand Erie District, Hastings and Prince Edward District, Near North District, Rainy River District, Simcoe County District, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District, and the Trillium Lakelands District school board.

More than 20 French Catholic schools will be affected, including École élémentaire catholique Saint-Noël-Chabanel and École élémentaire catholique du Sacré-Coeur in Toronto.

With files from Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson

Kristin Rushowy





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Scheer vows to never support carbon tax, blames Trudeau for national unity ‘crisis’ – National



Andrew Scheer is doubling down on his insistence that the federal Conservative party will never support a carbon tax.

The Conservative leader is proposing an amendment to the Liberals’ throne speech that would commit the government to scrapping the carbon tax.

“We’re going to fight for pipelines, lower taxes and reduced regulations to make Canada the best place in the world to invest, start a business and create jobs,” he said.

READ MORE: Climate change, healing regional divides key planks for Trudeau Liberals in Throne Speech

The amendment is unlikely to pass since all the other parties in the House of Commons support the tax and advocate bolder action to tackle climate change.

Scheer also blamed the Trudeau government for creating what he called a national unity “crisis.” with policies that he claims alienated residents in Alberta and Saskatchewan.



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“A national unity crisis requires respecting provincial jurisdiction and scrapping the carbon tax and stopping the attack on the Western Canadian economy,” Scheer said.

“I want all our colleagues from across Canada to not underestimate the deep alienation and anger the people of my province, along with our neighbours in Alberta, currently feel about their deal in Confederation,” he said. “The damage done over the past four years is significant.”

But Scheer, who is fighting to retain his post as leader amid heavy criticism from some within his own party over his handling of the recent election campaign, appears to be comfortable isolating his party in Parliament.

He dismisses those who blame the election result on Scheer’s failure to offer a credible climate change plan, as “a chorus of voices from elite corners of Canadian high society” who want the Conservatives to endorse the idea of a carbon tax.

He says Conservatives will always oppose a carbon tax because of the real costs it imposes on Canadians.




© 2019 The Canadian Press








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Kenney to meet Trudeau next week, discuss pipelines and equalization


EDMONTON —
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will meet Tuesday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa to discuss issues ranging from pipelines to equalization.

Kenney says he and eight of his cabinet ministers will be in the nation’s capital early next week to meet with their counterparts and push for federal co-operation to help grow the economy.

Kenney says he will bring up with Trudeau a resolution passed unanimously at the recent meeting of provincial leaders to consider changes to the fiscal stabilization fund.

The fund helps provinces facing year-over-year declines in non-resource revenues, but Alberta says it is being shortchanged due to caps tied to the size of its population.

Kenney says Alberta should receive about $2.4 billion going back to 2014, and that the federal government has not yet rejected the proposal and is open to discussing it.

The premier says he’ll also press Trudeau for a fixed completion date on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the British Columbia coast.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2019.



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Adam Schiff says Trump ‘doesn’t give a shit about what’s good for our country’ – live | US news


The signers are law professors and other academics from universities across the country, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and many others. The open letter was published online Friday by the nonprofit advocacy group Protect Democracy.

‘There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,’ the group of professors wrote. ‘His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.’



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The vote that could destroy the United Kingdom


A view from St Rule’s Tower overlooks the town of St Andrews, Scotland.

St Andrews, Scotland —It’s a bitterly cold November day in the Scottish town of St Andrews, the kind of morning when the grass crackles underfoot like broken glass.

Undeterred, tourists swaddled in puffer jackets and armed with selfie sticks ascend the cathedral tower that has overlooked this coastal spot for 800 years.

From the top, gazing in one direction, the sea stretches towards Europe. Looking the other way, rolling hills lead to England.

As the United Kingdom faces its most momentous election in recent history, Scotland is grappling with which view to set its sights on.

For Scottish voters, a key issue in the December 12 general election will be whether, in the long term, they want to remain part of the UK or to break away and become an independent country.

“Independence is not about ‘oh we hate the English,’” says 22-year-old Scot and pro-independence campaigner Iona Fraser-Collins. “It’s about us wanting to be in charge of our own laws, and England being in charge of its own laws.”

Scotland rejected independence at a 2014 referendum, 55% to 45%. But circumstances have changed dramatically since then, according to the Scottish National Party (SNP) — the third-largest party in the UK Parliament.

In 2016 Scotsvoted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Instead, they got Brexit – setting the country on a path it hadn’t agreed to and re-energizing the fight for independence.

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The ruins of St Andrews Cathedral date back to the 12th Century.
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A statue greets tourists at the cathedral’s museum.

In the event of a hung parliament –- one in which no party secures an outright majority — the pro-independence SNP could play kingmaker, potentially propping up a Labour government (they’ve dismissed the idea of doing the same with the Conservatives).

The SNP’s key condition for this would be securing a second Scottish independence referendum. It’s a prospect Labour hasn’t ruled out completely.

Student power

No battle will be fiercer than that fought in the constituency of North East Fife. This is the most marginal seat in the UK: In the 2017 election, the SNP won by just two votes against the Liberal Democrats.

Both the SNP and Lib Dems want to stop Brexit and both are fighting for pro-European voters. Their methods though, are starkly different.

The SNP believes an independent Scotland is the best way of staying in the EU; the Lib Dems say Scotland is stronger in Europeand in the UK.

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St Andrews students stream through St Salvator’s Quadrangle. Over 9,000 students attend the university, accounting for more than half the town’s population.

The SNP currently controls 35 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies -– every seat they could gain in this election would strengthen their negotiating hand for an independence referendum.

At the heart of North East Fife is the university town of St Andrews.

It’s best known abroad as the place where Prince William started dating Kate, and as the “home of golf” thanks to the 600-year-old course that dominates the rugged landscape.

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A passerby crosses the iconic Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews’ Old Course, regarded as the ‘Home of Golf’.

The town’s prestigious university also has a reputation, Scottish commentators told CNN, as the place where wealthy English and American students go when they don’t get into Oxford or Cambridge.

Students loom large here; cycling down pretty streets and teeming out of grand stone university buildings. They gather outside cafes handing out political flyers, all too aware that in a constituency where just two votes decided the winner last time around, they could make all the difference.

“It’s pretty unusual for there to be an election during term time,” says the university’s student president, Jamie Rodney, who has been part of a campus-wide drive encouraging young people to register to vote. “So students have a real opportunity this year to potentially swing the result of the whole election.”

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“There tends to be a vicious cycle — students don’t vote, so politicians tend not to target them with policies,” says Student Association President Jamie Rodney.
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“There is a new generation that is newly able to vote,” says Art History lecturer Stephanie O’Rourke. “We want to make sure that we’re encouraging them to participate.”

‘Second class country’

Every Tuesday evening the students meet at one of the town’s many traditional pubs. They come armed with clipboards and political buttons, eschewing pints of beer for tea and Coca-Cola.

A handful of the group were too young to vote in the 2016 EU referendum. Even those who did vote Remain feel they’ve been flung under a Brexit bus that is beyond their control.

“Brexit is just a prime example of Scotland getting the exact opposite of what it voted for,” says 24-year-old Harry Stage, his black curls bobbing with emphasis.

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Members from St Andrews University Students For Independence (STAUSFI) gather in the town’s Whey Pat Tavern.

“When your mandate is not accepted, or your people are not listened to, then how can you want to stay part of that union?”

The students say Scotland feels like a “second-class country” where Westminster overlords dictate everything from their finance to defense policies. “We want to sit next to England at the table,” says Stage, “rather than in the back taking the scraps they can throw.”

They point to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons, carried by submarines based on Scotland’s west coast, as an example of the “double standards” and “condescending nature” of Westminster lawmakers towards their country.

“You couldn’t do it in the Thames (in London) because it’s too much of a threat to human life,” says Stage. “But what’s a trident bomb going to do amongst lochs and glens and Glasgow.”

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STAUSFI students meet over tea to organise bake sales and quiz nights as a way of getting their political message out.

Scotland’s first minister and the leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, has said scrapping Trident would be one of her party’s key demands if Labour wanted its support in a minority government.

It’s a demand that’s unlikely to be met. Labour has pledged to renew the Trident program, despite its leader Jeremy Corbyn being a longstanding critic of nuclear weapons.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland would automatically be welcomed back into the EU. Experts have warned that Spain – which is facing its own Catalan independence movement – may veto any attempt by Scotland to rejoin the bloc.

Indeed, the St Andrews students said the Scottish independence movement as a whole had been “very supportive” of Catalan activists, flying their flags at rallies and vice versa.

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Scotland’s national flag, also known as St Andrew’s Cross, flies from the town hall.
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Scotch whisky lines the shelves of The Criterion pub. The EU accounts for 30% of Scotland’s global whisky sales.

Regardless, Sturgeon is confident an independent Scotland would be readmitted to the EU. Even its national deficit of 7% (EU member states must have deficits below 3%) wouldn’t hold Scotland back, she told the BBC during a live leaders’ debate last week.

Instead, she said, the deficit would drop under an independent Scotland finally able to fully control its finances.

In any case, “we won’t be in the EU come January,” says Stage, in between sips of tea. “So, what do we have to lose?”

In another pub down the road, the SNP incumbent in this constituency, Stephen Gethins, rearranges himself on a plush red barstool. Like his young supporters, he opts for a tall glass of water over anything stronger.

In the last election here in 2017 Gethins won by just two votes, following three recounts, and admits “there was quite a lot of stuff going on at the time” given his wife had just had their baby the week before.

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”Historically, Scotland’s been a nation at the heart of Europe,” says North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins.

This election, Gethins sticks closely to the SNP script, saying Scotland’s departure from the UK would be nothing like England’s shambolic exit from the EU.

“It’s Brexit which is isolationist, which takes us into the unknown,” says Gethins. The nitty-gritty of what an independent Scotland would actually look like – its currency and border controls — are all laid out in the SNP’s 650-page White Paper, he says.

Stronger in the union

On the other side of town, challenger and Lib Dem candidate Wendy Chamberlain is knocking on doors with her own small army of supporters.

Across Scotland, the Lib Dems’ vote share pales in comparison to that of the SNP – they hold just four of the country’s 59 seats, trailing behind the Conservatives and Labour.

This election, Chamberlain is banking on her party carving out a niche – attracting voters who want to stay in the EU, but don’t want a second referendum on Scottish independence.

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“It’s good not be caught in your own echo chamber,” says Liberal Democrat candidate Wendy Chamberlain, whose husband is an SNP member.
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Chamberlain canvasses in St Andrews.

She believes the same argument for staying in the EU, applies to staying in the UK. “We are better off in the UK with the relationships we have across these islands, as well as remaining in the EU and maintaining those relationships we have across the continent,” Chamberlain says, the sea breeze ruffling her long curly hair.

Chamberlain’s biggest challenge may simply be convincing voters in her own home. Her husband is an SNP member, though she’s quick to laugh off politically-induced marital strife.

Among those hitting the pavements alongside Chamberlain are students Joseph Luke, 20, and Alex Whitham, 21. Both are English, which they say “lends itself to unionism a little bit.”

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Students Joseph Luke and Alex Whitham coordinate while canvassing for Wendy Chamberlain.

They now live in St Andrews and “just because we were born in England doesn’t mean we don’t get a say,” says Luke.

He has relatives in both countries and says he doesn’t want to cross a hard border “just to see my family.”  

Knife-edge margin

Even in a close constituency like North East Fife, some voters are still backing outside parties.

Student Lottie Doherty, 21, says she’ll be voting Labour because she supports staying in the EU and the UK, but believes the Lib Dem policy on revoking Brexit without a second referendum is “undemocratic.”

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Chair of St Andrews University Labour Society, Lottie Doherty, right, hands out flyers on how to register to vote.

Labour came a distant fourth in the last election here. This year’s candidate, Wendy Haynes, says her party’s aim is to create a radically different UK, one that Scotland will want to be part of.

Meanwhile, kilt shop owner Robert Brown says he’ll be backing the Conservatives because they “support small businesses” like his. Most of Brown’s customers come from Scotland or America, where he says kilts are a popular choice for weddings.

He gets very little business from Europe, and he voted to Leave in the EU referendum. Despite the political turmoil of the ensuing three years, Brown believes Boris Johnson is the prime minister to finally deliver Brexit.

Surrounded by rows and rows of multicolored kilts, fox furs, and traditional silver brooches, Brown scoffs at the prospect of ever voting SNP.

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The Tories are the best out of a bad bunch,” says 55-year-old kilt shop owner Robert Brown.

Scotland isn’t traditional territory for the Conservatives. But in the last few years the party has made significant gains while Labour, which had triumphed here since the 1960s, lost huge swaths of voters to a reinvigorated SNP.

Even the North East Fife’s Conservative candidate, Tony Miklinski, admits that “Boris does alienate some Scottish voters.”

The Prime Minister is “easily portrayed as the cartoon character, Eton-educated toff who’s out of touch with the working class, and with the people of Scotland.”

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A view of the North Sea stretches out from St Andrews’ pier towards Europe.

But the “bottom line,” according to Miklinksi, is that a Conservative majority is the only way to resolve the “logjam in Westminster” and deliver Brexit. And ensure the SNP doesn’t get a second Scottish referendum.

With just over a week until the election, opinion polls are predicting a Conservative majority in the UK. That said, the polls predicted the same outcome in the 2017 election – instead, the Tories failed to achieve that majority.

Some, like 26-year-old fisherman Lee Gardner, still aren’t sure who they’ll vote for. Britain’s fishing industry has been vocal in favor of leaving the EU. Nonetheless Gardner voted Remain, and says he loves “traveling to Europe.”

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“A lot of people who didn’t vote in the last election are kicking themselves,” says Lobster fisherman Lee Gardner.

“Anyway,” he adds with a cheeky smile, “I haven’t been a fisherman that long.”

Hauling lobsters onto his family’s boat in St Andrews’ harbor, Gardner stands on the cliff edge. Sea on one side, hills on the other, constantly moving between the two.

Soon, Scotland will decide which way to turn.

CNN’s William Bonnett contributed to this report.



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Corbyn Says Johnson Misleading on Brexit Deal Impact: U.K. Votes


(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn go head-to-head in the final scheduled leadership debate ahead of the Dec. 12 general election. The Conservatives still enjoy a healthy lead in opinion polls but will be wary of any gaffe or misstep that could undermine Johnson’s bid for a parliamentary majority in the last days of campaigning.

Ahead of the debate, the premier accused Corbyn of trying to “fiddle” the result of the second Brexit referendum the Labour leader wants by allowing European Union nationals to vote. Corbyn in turn said Johnson is misleading voters over the impact of the divorce agreement with Brussels.

Must Read: Britain’s Brexit Election Is Now a Referendum on Jeremy Corbyn

For more on the election visit ELEC.

Key Developments:

Corbyn accuses Johnson’s government of misleading voters on the impact of his Brexit dealJohnson-Corbyn BBC debate in Southampton at 8.30 p.m. Sky News announces result of YouGov’s snap poll on the winner at 9:30 p.m.BBC interviewer Andrew Neil attacked Johnson for refusing to be interviewed by him, accusing him of avoiding scrutinyBetting odds show a 71% chance of a Conservative majority, according to LadbrokesYouGov announces it will publish its last polling using the MRP model on Tuesday at 10pm

DUP Lambast Johnson over Northern Irish Impact (2:30 p.m.)

The Democratic Unionist Party issued a statement saying the internal Treasury document released by Jeremy Corbyn (see 10:30 a.m.) further proves Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will damage Northern Ireland. The DUP, which propped up Theresa May’s government, crucially refused to support the prime minister’s deal when he tried to get it through parliament in October.

“This latest leak from Her Majesty’s Treasury is further demonstration that the prime minister’s deal would be bad for Northern Ireland,” said Jeffrey Donaldson, the party’s chief whip. “The DUP warned the prime minister about this. Despite his protestations, the facts are in black and white. That is why we opposed the deal in the House of Commons and why Northern Ireland needs the deal changed.”

The DUP accused Johnson of selling-out loyalists in Northern Ireland to get his agreement with the EU. The deal “siphons off” the province from the rest of the U.K. by introducing checks on trade across the Irish Sea, the party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said at the time.

Tory Lead Narrows, Corbyn Unpopular: Poll (1:05 p.m.)

The Conservatives hold a 12-point lead over Labour, narrowing by four points from two weeks ago, according to the latest Ipsos Mori poll for the Evening Standard newspaper. Support for Johnson’s Conservatives stood unchanged at 44%, while Labour gained four points at 32%.

Johnson’s net personal ratings are at -20, lower than Theresa May’s a week before she lost her majority in 2017. But he can take solace from the fact that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s are significantly worse. His net rating is -44, lower than at this stage of the 2017 campaign and the lowest for a major party leader going into an election since records began, according to Ipsos Mori.

Tories: Document Released by Corbyn ‘Flash Analysis’ (1 p.m.)

The Conservative Party said the Treasury document released by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (see 10:30 a.m.) was produced immediately after Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was struck with Brussels and represents a “flash analysis” and is “based on a partial reading of the final deal.”

The party also said the document has not been seen by either Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid or Johnson. “It is an incomplete analysis,” the party said in an emailed statement.

Former Tory PM Major Backs Rebel Candidates (12:45 p.m.)

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major endorsed three former Tory ministers — David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton — each of whom disobeyed Johnson over Brexit and are running against the party’s official candidates.

“Let me make one thing absolutely clear: none of them has left the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party has left them,” Major said in an emailed statement ahead of an event Friday where he’s expected to appear alongside former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Without such talent on its benches, Parliament will be the poorer, which is why — if I were resident in any one of their constituencies — they would have my vote.”

Major repeated his call for a second referendum on Brexit. Boris Johnson called Major’s intervention “very sad” during a campaign event in Kent. “I think that he’s wrong and I think he represents a view that is outdated,” he said.

Johnson Denies Brexit Means N. Ireland Checks (12 p.m.)

Boris Johnson dismissed as “complete nonsense” Labour’s statement that his Brexit deal would mean checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, though he said he hadn’t read the government document Jeremy Corbyn’s party produced earlier (see 10:30 a.m.) to back up its position.

Speaking to journalists at a campaign event in Kent, Johnson said voters should “believe exactly what I say” on Brexit, and repeated his assertion that there would be no checks on goods traveling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. — unless they were destined for the Republic of Ireland.

But the Treasury document released by Corbyn matches what government ministers, including Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, have previously conceded: That some checks will be necessary on goods traveling in both directions.

At the event, Johnson attacked Corbyn’s decision not to pick a side in the second Brexit referendum the Labour leader has pledged to hold if he wins the election. He also repeated the line that the divorce deal with Brussels allows the country to leave the EU “as one whole U.K.” It’s a line his former Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionist Party, do not agree with.

Corbyn Says He’s a ‘Marmite’ Choice for Voters (11 a.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn acknowledged he’s a divisive figure among voters, a trait that’s borne out regularly in opinion polls. Following his speech in central London on Friday, he compared himself to Marmite — a spread made from yeast extract that’s long been sold in the U.K. under the slogan “love it or hate it.”

Asked whether he’s turn-off for voters, Corbyn replied: “I think Marmite’s really good for you. Some people like it and some people don’t.”

Must Read: Britain’s Brexit Election Is Now a Referendum on Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn has the lowest leadership satisfaction rating for any opposition leader since 1977, according to a recent poll by Ipsos Mori. Even some of his allies have commented on the issue. “There have been some reservations about Jeremy on the doorstep, because every single leader of every single political party is not to everyone’s taste,” Labour’s education spokeswoman Angela Rayner told Sky News last month.

Labour: Document Shows Threat to N. Ireland (10:30 a.m.)

The document presented by Jeremy Corbyn is a Treasury assessment of the economic and political impacts of the Northern Ireland protocol — the part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal covering how goods moving across the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain are checked and taxed.

According to the document, customs declarations and physical checks will be “highly disruptive” to the Northern Irish economy. The Treasury also says that 98% of Northern Irish exporters to Great Britain are small-to-medium sized enterprises, who are “likely to struggle to bear” the cost of these changes.

In terms of imports to Northern Ireland, high street goods are likely to increase in price. Johnson’s deal will constitute “tariff equivalents of 30% on purchases in Northern Ireland,” according to the document.

The document also appears to cast further doubt on Johnson’s repeated assertions that his withdrawal agreement takes the U.K. “whole and entire” from the EU. It’s not a new dispute — the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which propped up the Tories in government, declined to back the Brexit deal because they said it treats the province differently to the rest of the U.K.

The deal “has the potential to separate Northern Ireland in practice from whole swathes of the U.K.’s internal market,” the document reads.

Corbyn Says Johnson Hiding Truth on Brexit Deal (10 a.m.)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled what he called a confidential government document he said proves that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hiding the truth about the impact of his Brexit deal on the U.K.

In a speech in London, Corbyn said the 15-page document “drives a coach and horses” through Johnson’s claim that there will be no border in the Irish Sea after Brexit and that it was a “great deal” for Northern Ireland. It shows, he said, that the government has admitted there will be customs declarations and security checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain.

“Johnson’s deal will be disastrous for businesses and jobs across the whole U.K.,” Corbyn said. “And the government’s confidential report confirms this.”

Gove Defends Johnson Swerving Neil Interview (9 a.m.)

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove denied that Boris Johnson is avoiding accountability by being the only major party leader not to do a televised interview with BBC journalist Andrew Neil. “The prime minister has done more than 100 interviews during the campaign so far,” Gove told BBC Radio. “It’s an unprecedented amount of scrutiny that the PM has allowed to happen.”

Neil himself challenged Johnson to agree to an interview at the end of his grilling of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on Thursday. “We have an interview prepared — oven-ready, as Mr. Johnson likes to say,” he said.

Click here for Neil’s monologue.

“The theme running through our questions is trust, and why at so many times in his career in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy,” Neil said. “The prime minister of our nation will, at times, have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. It was surely not expecting too much that he spend half-an-hour standing up to me.”

Labour campaign coordinator Andrew Gwynne sent a complaint to the BBC Thursday, accusing the public broadcaster of being “complicit in giving the Conservative Party an unfair electoral advantage.” He said Labour had arranged party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the understanding Johnson had agreed the same terms.

Johnson has also declined an invitation to be questioned by ITV’s Julie Etchingham as part of her series of leader interviews. ITV said they will run a profile of Johnson featuring archival footage instead.

Earlier:

Britain’s Brexit Election Is Now a Referendum on Jeremy CorbynU.K. Election Primer: Britain’s Economic Future Held in BalanceThe Big Brexit Bet That Hasn’t Paid Off: Therese Raphael

–With assistance from Thomas Penny.

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Ritchie in London at [email protected];Jessica Shankleman in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Stuart Biggs, Mark Williams

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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NATO’s New Mission


There is little argument that the 70-year-old NATO Alliance today finds itself in one of the most complicated security environments it has ever seen. China and Russia continue to pose significant challenges, the fast-paced development of new technology is adding borderless perimeters that must be defended and the organization is managing internal strife from its own members including Turkey and the United States.

As part of a joint statement issued Wednesday, leaders said, “We, as an Alliance, are facing distinct threats and challenges emanating from all strategic directions.  Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.  State and non-state actors challenge the rules-based international order. Instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration. We face cyber and hybrid threats.”

Alliance leaders have been focused this week on developing a strategy to address security concerns with China for the very first time, and considering the implications of Beijing’s global investments and growing military. They were also aiming for agreement on a defense plan for the Baltics and Poland, as well as considering new approaches to common threats like terrorism.

Internally, the Alliance has been challenged by Turkey’s seeming lean in toward Russia and with a consistent demand from the U.S. to address burden sharing among NATO members.

“Since 2016, Canada and European allies have added 130 billion more to their defence budgets. And this number will increase to 400 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. This is unprecedented. This is making NATO stronger and it shows that this Alliance is adapting, responding when the world is changing,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the two-day conference. “NATO is the most successful Alliance in history because we have been able to change when the world is changing. That is exactly what we are doing again. And the fact is that we are doing more together in this Alliance now then we have done in many decades.”

While there has been no shortage of theatrics among leaders this week, The Cipher Brief tapped two of its experts, both former NATO Supreme Allied Commanders Europe (SACEUR) to help cut through some of the rhetoric to understand the Alliance’s strategic importance today to both the U.S. and its allies.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove served as the 17th Supreme Allied Commander, NATO.  Prior to his position as SACEUR, General Breedlove served as the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; and Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa.

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) served as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander, NATO and is currently an Operating Executive at The Carlyle Group.  His is the author of, Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character.

Background:

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in April 1949 with 12 initial nations signing on.
  • The Alliance was founded on three basic goals: to deter Soviet expansionism, to form a strong partnership with the United States to deter nationalist militarism in Europe and to encourage political integration throughout Europe.
  • U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower became NATO’s first Supreme Allied Commander (a role always held by an American) in 1950.
  • On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked its mutual defense clause in support of the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Today, NATO is comprised of 29 member countries including: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, The United Kingdom, and The United States.

 

Why is NATO so important right now?

General Philip Breedlove (Ret.), Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe

“The bottom line is we’re living in some of the most uncertain times of our history. We used to understand our opponents, who they were and where the lines on the ground and the lines in the sand were. Now, there are no lines out there for us to understand. There are all kinds of gray zone conflicts going on. Russia is attacking us in cyber every day. They’re engineering social media against the West every day. They’re interfering in elections, every single one of them including the French, German, U.S., and British elections. Where and how we draw lines and understand what our opponents are doing to us is critical. More than ever, we need NATO. In the last five years, Russia as a major world power, has used its military to cross internationally recognized borders into Crimea and into the Donbass and has changed internationally recognized borders by using their military. I don’t know what more we need to look for in order to understand how important NATO is.”

 

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

“I’ll give you three reasons. One is the challenges that we collectively face with Russian adventurism. I think there’s still a significant role for NATO in deterring Russia and by the very nature of its invasion of Ukraine, we see that Vladimir Putin is a gambler. He’s a risk taker and I think will continue to put pressure on the Alliance. Number two, cyber security. We are increasingly at risk in the world of cyber where the level of threat far outpaces the level of preparation. And I think it’s an area in which we would be collectively much, much stronger if we operated together. Third, and finally I think the Alliance matters because of its potential impact in the Middle East and here whether we’re working on counter terrorism, helping to calm the situation in Syria, or in working over-time to deter Iran from bad behavior. And I think there are still significant missions ahead for NATO. I just mentioned three. We also have a continuing mission in Afghanistan and we have challenges in the Arctic. There’s plenty for NATO to do and it’s still great value for the United States.”

 

What needs to happen in London?

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

“I think we need the Alliance to take a deep breath and work on the overall center of gravity for this Alliance, which is political coherence. At the moment, you have the French pulling in one direction, you have the Turks distinctly pulling in a different direction to the South, you have questions about where Afghanistan is going and you have the American side, which continues to constantly talk only about funding and who’s paying what. So right now, the Alliance doesn’t feel like a synchronized political Alliance, although its military capability remains strong. So, I would say the number one thing we need is more coherence out of the leadership assembling in London.”

 

Gen. Philip Breedlove (Ret.), Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

“What needs to happen in London is the same thing that should happen every time NATO meets at the senior level. And that is to reinforce the commitment by all of the allies to the alliance, and what the alliance stands for, to its Western values, and to the military commitment that we make to each other. There is essentially a commitment to collective defense, but there are also 28 individual bilateral commitments to defend each other.”

 

Access your full Cipher Brief debrief with Admiral James Stavridis here

Access your full Cipher Brief debrief with General Philip Breedlove here

Join Cipher Brief experts March 22-24 in Sea Island, GA for the fourth annual Cipher Brief Threat Conference.  This is an invitation-only event for public and private security and national experts.  Our 2020 focus is Future Threats and how the public and private sectors need to work together to address them.  Seating is extremely limited.  Request your seat today.

 





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No Institution or Individual can Stand on the Sidelines in the Fight Against Climate Change — Global Issues


Kristalina Georgieva. Credit: IMF
  • Opinion by Kristalina Georgieva (washington dc)
  • Thursday, December 05, 2019
  • Inter Press Service
  • Kristalina Georgieva is managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

I think of my 9-year-old granddaughter. By the time she turns 20, she may be witness to climate change so profound that it pushes an additional 100 million people into poverty.

By the time she turns 40, 140 million may become climate migrants—people forced to flee homes that are no longer safe or able to provide them with livelihoods. And if she lives to be 90, the planet may be 3–4° hotter and barely livable.

Unless we act.

We can avoid this bleak future, and we know what we have to do—reduce emissions, offset what cannot be reduced, and adapt to new climate realities. No individual or institution can stand on the sidelines.

Our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through various mitigation measures—phasing out fossil fuels, increasing energy efficiency, adopting renewable energy sources, improving land use and agricultural practices—continue to move forward, but the pace is too slow.

We have to scale up and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. At the same time, we must recognize that climate change is already happening and affecting the lives of millions of people. There are more frequent and more severe weather-related events—more droughts, more floods, more heat waves, more storms.

Ready or not, we are entering an age of adaptation. And we need to be smart about it. Adaptation is not a defeat, but rather a defense against what is already happening.

The right investments will deliver a “triple dividend” by averting future losses, spurring economic gains through innovation, and delivering social and environmental benefits to everyone, but particularly to those currently affected and most at risk.

Updated building codes can ensure infrastructure and buildings are better able to withstand extreme events. Making agriculture more climate resilient means investing more money in research and development, which in turn opens the door to innovation, growth, and healthier communities.

The IMF is stepping up its efforts to deal with climate risk. Our mission is to help our members build stronger economies and improve people’s lives through sound monetary, fiscal, and structural policies.

We consider climate change a systemic risk to the macroeconomy and one in which the IMF is deeply involved through its research and policy advice.

On the mitigation side of the equation, this means intensifying our work on carbon pricing and helping governments craft road maps as they navigate their way from brown economies dependent on carbon to green ones that strive to be carbon free.

Carbon taxes are one of the most powerful and efficient tools at their disposal—the latest IMF analysis finds that large emitting countries need to introduce a carbon tax that rises quickly to $75 a ton in 2030, consistent with limiting global warming to 2°C or less.

But carbon taxes must be implemented in a careful and growth-friendly fashion. The key is to retool the tax system in fair, creative, and efficient ways—not just add a new tax.

A good example is Sweden, where low- and middle-income households received higher transfers and tax cuts to help offset higher energy costs following the introduction of a carbon tax.

This is a path others can follow, strategically directing part of the revenues that carbon taxes generate back to low-income households that can least afford to pay. With the revenues estimated at 1–3 percent of GDP, a portion could also go to support firms and households that choose green pathways.

While we continue to work to reduce carbon emissions, the increasing frequency of more extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts, and floods is affecting people all across the world.

Countries already vulnerable to natural disasters suffer the most, not only in terms of immediate loss of life, but also in long-lasting economic effects. In some countries, total economic losses exceed 200 percent of GDP—as when Hurricane Maria struck Dominica in 2017.

Our emergency lending facilities are designed to provide speedy assistance to low-income countries hit by disasters. But the IMF also works across various fronts on the adaptation side to help countries address climate-related challenges and be able to price risk and provide incentives for investment, including in new technologies.

We support resilience-building strategies, particularly in highly vulnerable countries to help them prepare for and rebound from disasters. And we contribute to building capacity within governments through training and technical assistance to better manage disaster risks and responses.

We work with other organizations to increase the impact of our climate work. One of our most important partnerships is with the World Bank, in particular on Climate Change Policy Assessments.

Together, we take stock of countries’ mitigation and adaption plans, risk management strategies, and financing and point to gaps where those countries need investment, policy changes, or help in building up their capacity to take the necessary action.

Moving forward, we must also be open to stepping in where and when our expertise can help, and there are other areas where we will be gearing up our work. For example, we will be working more closely with central banks, which, as guardians of both financial and price stability, are now adapting regulatory frameworks and practices to address the multifaceted risks posed by climate change.

Many central banks and other regulators are seeking ways to improve climate risk disclosure and classification standards, which will help financial institutions and investors better assess their climate-related exposures—and help regulators better gauge system-wide risks.

The IMF is offering support by working with the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System and other standard-setting bodies.

Central banks and regulators should also help banks, insurers, and nonfinancial firms assess their own exposures to climate risk and develop climate-related “stress tests.” Such tests can help identify the likely impact of a severe adverse climate-driven shock on the solvency of financial institutions and the stability of the financial system.

The IMF will help push forward efforts around climate change stress testing, including through our own assessments of countries’ financial sectors and economies. Careful calibration of stress testing for climate change will be needed, because such testing requires assessing the effects of shocks or policy actions that may have little historical precedent.

All these efforts will help ensure that more money will flow into low-carbon, climate-resilient investments. The rapid increase of green bonds is a positive trend, but much more is required to secure our future. It is that simple: we all need to intensify our efforts to work together to exchange knowledge and ideas, to formulate and implement policies, and to finance the transition to the new climate economy. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us.

This article was first published in Finance & Development, the quarterly magazine published by the International Monetary Fund. Opinions expressed in articles and other materials are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect IMF policy

© Inter Press Service (2019) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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