EU backs down: Barnier caves to Boris in N Ireland Brexit row after nuclear option threat

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief haggler, told his UK counterpart Lord Frost the EU was not serious about preventing food shipments being sent to the province. It comes after a “useful” week of informal talks between the two sides in Brussels as the post-Brexit negotiations reach a critical point. Earlier in the week Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the EU of being “abusive” negotiators in the wrangling over a free-trade agreement.

But Brussels diplomats have rowed back from the threat after it threatened to blow up the future relationship talks.

A UK source close to the negotiations said: “Barnier has said there is no obstacle to listing and normal process will be followed.”

Previously the EU had suggested the UK could be prevented from exporting to the bloc unless the Government published its exact post-Brexit plans for food safety.



Brexit breakthrough: No10 claims Boris' threat paid off as EU backs down on key UK demand

No10 hit back at Michel Barnier’s claims that the UK had caved to EU demands on fisheries, insisting the opposite had happened. According to Channel 4 News’ Gary Gibbon, the British Government is celebrating EU compromises on fisheries and the deadlocked Brexit trade talks. This comes after claims the UK has made a “tentative, modest” compromise on fisheries.

Reuters had reported this week that Downing Street was “moving cautiously towards some opening on fisheries in the technical talks”.

Gary Gibbon echoed this in his report, saying: “Michel Barnier was talking to EU ambassadors in Brussels tonight in a private meeting.

“He told them that there had been movement on Britain’s part, not least on fisheries, in last week’s negotiations.”

But, he went on to explain that British officials had claimed instead that it was the EU who gave way in the talks last week, thanks to Boris Johnson’s “Rambo-style tactics”.

JUST IN: EU news: Von der Leyen blasted for ‘wishy washy’ State of Union speech

Gibbon said: “The Government here is saying there is movement from Europe.

“They suggest that is thanks to their Rambo-style tactics, but the EU has warned that the Rambo tactics could destabilise the whole thing eventually.”

This is in reference to the controversy over the Government’s plans to override parts of the UK’s Brexit agreement.

Boris Johnson avoided a growing Tory rebellion last night after he reached a deal with some of the Tory MPs unhappy with the Internal Market Bill.

The bill had triggered a severe backlash from the EU, which has threatened legal action if it is not withdrawn.

The EU has has also said it will break off trade talks if the bill is not scrapped within the month.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs yesterday that the UK’s chances of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU are beginning to fade.

The European Commission President said during a major speech to the European Parliament that “with every day that passes, the chances of a timely agreement do start to fade”.



Ewan McGregor backs SNP bid for independence in celebrity's foul-mouthed anti-Brexit rant

Ewan McGregor, speaking from Los Angeles, has voiced his support for the SNP’s campaign for Scottish independence. The Hollywood celebrity has changed his mind on the issue, after arguing against independence during the 2014 independence referendum. He singled out the Brexit vote as the decisive moment that changed his moment, saying “enough was enough”.

The Scottish actor, who lives in California, told late night show host Bill Maher on US television “probably it’s time” for Scotland to leave the UK.

The Moulin Rouge star said, “I was always for keeping with the Union, I think it worked.

“Then after the Brexit vote I think for sure I’ve changed my tune about it. I think Scotland has been voting for a government that they haven’t been given for years.

“We’re a very left voting country Scotland, and we’ve been under Conservative rule for years all through my childhood and still today so I think really enough is enough.”

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McGregor continued: “The Scottish people want to stay in the European Union, and the English don’t. So I just think we’re going in different directions.

“So I think probably it is time.”

To the laughter of the US audiences, the 49-year-old added: “I think once Boris became prime minister, Scotland was like, ‘Right that’s it, we’re f****** out of here.”

The news delighted SNP activists, with the video quickly circulating on official SNP accounts.

However, Brexiteers and unionists ridiculed the latest independence supporter, pointing out that McGregor haS not lived in Scotland since he was 17 years old.

One person said: “Good of Ewan McGregor to voice his support for Scottish independence from his vantage point in the Hollywood hills. I’m sure the SNP will want the LA Scottish voting.”

Another remarked: “Orkney and Shetland are leaving but hey, Ewan McGregor’s on board!”

Others added: “Remind me where Ewan McGregor actually lives? Scotland? I don’t think so…”

The latest polling found that 53 percent of likely Scottish voters would choose independence at a new referendum, while 47 percent would back the No side.

The Survation poll of 1018 people, carried out between September 2-7, is the seventh in a row to put Yes in the lead.



Pope Francis backs Vatican calls to stop Mafia bosses using 'hijacked' Virgin Mary symbol

The Pontifical International Marian Academy has set up a department to tackle the mafia’s usage of the Virgin Mary. The department plans to teach children and families the true theology of Mary, and aims to “restore the purity of the image of Jesus and Mary which comes from the Gospels”. Francis has previously been outspoken against crime families using Christian imagery.

In the letter to the academy’s president, Francis offered his support to the “important initiative”.

The Pope praised it for opening a department on mafia and criminal phenomena.

He wrote he hoped it would help “free the figure of the Madonna from the influence of criminal organisations”

Francis also claimed Mary needed to be removed from “superstructures, powers or conditioning that does not correspond to the Gospel criteria of justice, liberty, honesty, and solidarity”.

READ MORE: Pope Francis ‘tipped to SPLIT Catholic Church’ amid feud with Pope Benedict

The mafia has used the Virgin Mary as a symbol for servitude for centuries, and make statues of her bend in front of mob bosses during processions.

Father Stefan Cecchin, president of the academy, said the words of the Bible had been twisted because the mother of Jesus Christ was forced to bend to the will of God.

Speaking to the Catholic News Agency, he said “this is exactly what the figure of Mary has become” in the mafia framework, and called the misuse of devotion “superstition”.

He added: “The figure of a human being who must be submissive, therefore a slave, accepting the will of God, the will of the bosses, the will of the mafia leaders.”

In 2018, he denounced the mafias “blasphemous existence” while in Sicily.

Francis was visiting to honour Blessed Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi, a priest murdered by the mob in 1993.

Targeting the mafia, he said: “A person who is a Mafioso does not live as a Christian because with his life he blasphemes against the name of God.

“Change, brothers and sisters! Stop thinking about yourselves and your money… convert yourselves to the real God.”

Italy has three main branches of the mafia, being the Camorra crime syndicate in Naples, the ‘Ndrangheta in the Calabria region, and the Sicilian Mafia.

The academy is organising a conference this month to set guidelines for the anti-mafia department, including theologians and lawyers.

Father Cecchin said of the department: “What we reiterate is that we must work together, but each with their own identity, without confusing the State, the Church, and other organisations.

“We must work for the common good.”



Pope Francis backs Vatican calls to stop Mafia bosses using 'hijacked' Virgin Mary symbol

The Pontifical International Marian Academy has set up a department to tackle the mafia’s usage of the Virgin Mary. The department plans to teach children and families the true theology of Mary, and aims to “restore the purity of the image of Jesus and Mary which comes from the Gospels”. Francis has previously been outspoken against crime families using Christian imagery.

In the letter to the academy’s president, Francis offered his support to the “important initiative”.

The Pope praised it for opening a department on mafia and criminal phenomena.

He wrote he hoped it would help “free the figure of the Madonna from the influence of criminal organisations”

Francis also claimed Mary needed to be removed from “superstructures, powers or conditioning that does not correspond to the Gospel criteria of justice, liberty, honesty, and solidarity”.

READ MORE: Pope Francis ‘tipped to SPLIT Catholic Church’ amid feud with Pope Benedict

The mafia has used the Virgin Mary as a symbol for servitude for centuries, and make statues of her bend in front of mob bosses during processions.

Father Stefan Cecchin, president of the academy, said the words of the Bible had been twisted because the mother of Jesus Christ was forced to bend to the will of God.

Speaking to the Catholic News Agency, he said “this is exactly what the figure of Mary has become” in the mafia framework, and called the misuse of devotion “superstition”.

He added: “The figure of a human being who must be submissive, therefore a slave, accepting the will of God, the will of the bosses, the will of the mafia leaders.”

In 2018, he denounced the mafias “blasphemous existence” while in Sicily.

Francis was visiting to honour Blessed Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi, a priest murdered by the mob in 1993.

Targeting the mafia, he said: “A person who is a Mafioso does not live as a Christian because with his life he blasphemes against the name of God.

“Change, brothers and sisters! Stop thinking about yourselves and your money… convert yourselves to the real God.”

Italy has three main branches of the mafia, being the Camorra crime syndicate in Naples, the ‘Ndrangheta in the Calabria region, and the Sicilian Mafia.

The academy is organising a conference this month to set guidelines for the anti-mafia department, including theologians and lawyers.

Father Cecchin said of the department: “What we reiterate is that we must work together, but each with their own identity, without confusing the State, the Church, and other organisations.

“We must work for the common good.”



China prepares for war as the US backs India in latest border standoff

Back in June, China and India deployed troops to the disputed Galwan Valley, in Ladakh. The clash saw fatalities on both sides marking the first bloody altercation between the nations in 45 years.

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, while around 35 Chinese troops died, including one senior officer.

According to news reports at time, all of the casualties were from the use of batons, knives and falls from the steep land.

The clash came after India’s external affairs ministry accused China of breaching agreements of the Line of Actual Control [LAC] in the Galwan Valley.

The ongoing border disputes between the two countries escalated after India accused China of sending thousands of troops into Ladakh’s Galwan valley.

China prepares for war with India over border

China prepares for war with India over border (Image: Getty)

Tensions rise following clash in Galwan Valley

Tensions rise following clash in Galwan Valley (Image: Getty)

In the same month as the bloody clash, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with US President Donald Trump on the “situation on the India-China border”.

Mr Trump offered to mediate the feud between the countries but they both rejected the offer and claimed the situation is under control.

Now, tensions have risen again after China releases a terrifying video of troops training for battle near the border.

The footage shows a brigade conducting combat exercises in the highlands that meet India.

READ MORE: World War 3 WARNING: Beijing vows to ‘expel India from contested sea 

At least 20 Indian troops killed in fight

At least 20 Indian troops killed in fight (Image: Getty)

At the end of August, China blamed the border dispute on Indian forces who “violated” the Line of Actual Control.

Ji Kong, the Chinese embassy in India spokesperson, said: “The Indian side’s actions seriously violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated the relevant agreements and important consensus of the two countries, and severely damaged the peace and tranquilly of the border area.

“This runs counter to the efforts of both sides to promote the relaxation of the situation on the ground for some time.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying urged for New Delhi to take Beijing’s concerns seriously over the border issue.

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China vs India military power

China vs India military power (Image: Express)

She said: “We hope that India will take China’s concerns seriously and take concrete actions to ensure the peace and tranquillity of the border areas and the sound development of China-India relations.”

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Shri Anurag Srivastava said the two countries were regularly engaged in diplomatic talks.

But argued it was China who were the aggressors in the region, not Indian.

He said: “Due to the timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo.

India protesters burn Chinese goods

India protesters burn Chinese goods (Image: Getty)

“The actions and behaviour of the Chinese side since earlier this year along the LAC has been in clear violation of the bilateral agreements and protocols concluded between the two countries to ensure peace and tranquility on the border.”

Although arguing it was Beijing causing the border issues, Mr Srivastava emphasised the importance of diplomacy in resolving the dispute.

He said: “We expect the Chinese side to sincerely abide by the understanding reached earlier and earnestly work with India to resolve the situation and to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

US blame China for ongoing disputes in the region

US blame China for ongoing disputes in the region (Image: Getty)

The ongoing border disputes have caught the attention of Washington.

The US believes China is “likely responsibly for responding to conflict with India and terrorist and insurgent threats to and within western China”.

Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said: “Our strategy is to push back against China in virtually every domain.

“We’re doing it in the security area. We’re doing it in terms of outsized demands to claim sovereign territory, whether it’s in the Galwan Valley of India on the India-Chinese border, or whether it’s in the South Pacific.”



BBC backs down: Rule Britannia will NOT be cut from BBC Proms after furious backlash

Organisers of the concert announced the line-up for the Last Night of the Proms on Monday, ahead of the event on Saturday September 12 at Royal Albert Hall.

A campaign to omit the famous song from the concert has garnered support on social media.

Many supporters said the words of the song were offensive and outdated and called for a ban on it being performed in public.

This is a breaking news story… More to follow…



Meghan Markle takes HUGE swipe at voters as she backs Michelle Obama – 'You're complicit!'

The former Duchess of Sussex was a surprise guest on Michelle Obama’s When All Women Vote virtual event. The former First Lady’s project was aimed at women in the US with the hope of increasing voter turnout on November 3. After leaving the Royal Family on March 31, Meghan has been more outspoken about political issues, such as racism and voting.

Meghan told American women at the event “if you are complacent” and don’t vote, “you’re complicit”.

She also described woman voting in the US as “part of a legacy”.

Meghan added: “We can make a difference in this election and we will make the difference in this election.

“I think it’s an exciting day, because it is the countdown to the change that we would all like to see for the better for our country.”

READ MORE: Meghan heartbreak: The sad reason ‘struggling’ Duchess sneaked into her car through trunk

The former Duchess pointed to women’s suffrage in the US, and said that women in different communities are “still struggling to see that right come to fruition”.

She said: “We look at the attempts of voter suppression and what that’s doing, all the more reason we need each of you to be out there supporting each other to understand that this fight is worth fighting and we all have to be out there mobilising to have our voices heard.

“I think we are obviously faced with a lot of problems in our world right now, both in the physical world and in the digital world, but we can and must do everything we can to ensure all women have their voices heard.

“Because at this juncture, if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

“If you aren’t going out there and voting, then you’re complicit.”

Despite the controversy, a source close to Meghan told the Mirror that her appearance for When All Women Vote is about empowering women instead of supporting a candidate.

Meghan previously claimed she will be participating in the November 3 US election, despite members of the Royal Family traditionally not voting.

It is considered unconstitutional for the Royal Family to vote, despite there being no UK law banning it.

Prince Harry will also not be taking part in the US election, as he remains a UK citizen.

Meghan has been outspoken about the importance of voting, and said to Marie Claire earlier this month it is a “fundamental right”.

She added: “I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless.

“I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard.

She was also previously said to be “frustrated” at the apolitical stance of the Royal Family.

The Daily Mail quoted sources close to Meghan who said she “has strong political opinions and will now take advantage of the greater freedom she has to express them publicly” after her departure in March.



China backs down! Beijing begs Trump to reopen communications – Tensions on knife edge

Amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea, the imposition of the Hong Kong Security law and the controversy surrounding TikTok and Huawei, China’s foreign minister has begged Donald Trump not to return to Cold War tensions. In an incredible interview with the Xinhua news agency, Wang Yi insisted China does not interfere in the relations of any country. Wang also asked Washington to enter into peaceful dialogue in the wake of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s claims China is attempting to build a naval empire.

With tensions on a knife-edge, the China’s foreign minister indicated US-Sino relations are now facing their gravest challenge in decades.

Wang said: “Today’s China is not the former Soviet Union.

“We have no intention of becoming another United States.

“China does not export ideology and never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs.

“Our message is quite clear: we urge the US to stop acting with arrogance and prejudice, but enter into constructive dialogue with us on an equal footing.

“China never intends to and will never interfere in the US election and other US internal affairs.”

With the US Presidential election looming in November, some analysts have stated Beijing is attempting to pacify relations ahead of an election victory for Joe Biden.

Mr Biden has hit out at the current trade deal between the US and China.

JUST IN: China’s ‘fearsome threat’ picked apart by Cummings

“It could also be out of consideration for a clear approach to the US as China is laying out the next five-year development plan and a longer-term ‘2035 vision’, the major missions for a plenary session of the Communist Party to be held in October.

“On diplomatic issues we expect to hear more noises to further impair bilateral relations in the coming three months ahead of the November election.

“What matters to the relationship over the short term is whether the implementation of the phase one trade deal will continue and whether the US sanctions on banks will exceed expectations on issues around the national security law in Hong Kong.”

Mr Wang’s comments come soon after the announcement US Health Secretary, Alex Azar will visit Taiwan.

The state has an arms agreement with the US which states, Washington will supply adequate arms to the island in order for it to defend itself.

The visit will mark the first high-level visit to Taiwan from a US official since 1979.

Ahead of the visit, Chinese officials have declared any visit would threaten peace and stability in the region.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin urged the US to abide by China’s policy against Taiwan and not interfere.

“China is firmly opposed to official interactions with Taiwan. China has lodged representations with the US.

“Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations.”