EU, UK still have ‘fundamental’ differences in trade talks

EU, UK still have ‘fundamental’ differences in trade talks

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FILE – In this file photo dated Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier, centre, leaves the Conference Centre in London with unidentified members of his team. The Brexit … more >

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By RAF CASERT

Associated Press

Monday, November 23, 2020

BRUSSELS (AP) – With the European Union‘s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in quarantine, trade talks with the United Kingdom continued by videoconference this week, though the optimism expressed last week seemed to have faded.

Barnier stressed on Monday that negotiators were running out of time to make a Jan. 1 deadline and that “fundamental divergences still remain.”

The talks were shifted to a videoconference last week when an EU official tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing Barnier into a quarantine until at least Thursday. Both sides have indicated that to reach an agreement on key issues the negotiators need to meet in person.

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On Friday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued one of the most upbeat assessments of the state of post-Brexit trade negotiations in several weeks, saying the EU had seen “in the last days better progress, more movement on important files.”

But on Monday, EU Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said that “while some progress has been made in drafting legal texts, significant fundamental divergences remain in the three key areas” that negotiations have centered on – the fishing industry, how to check compliance with the deal and the standards the U.K. must meet to export into the EU.

Though the U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, it remains within the bloc’s tariff-free single market and customs union until the end of this year. A trade deal would ensure there are no tariffs and quotas on trade in goods between the two sides, but there would still be technical costs, partly associated with customs checks and non-tariff barriers on services.

Both sides have expressed hope of securing a deal in time to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs that could be affected if the trade agreements lapse with no deal on future ties. Though both sides would suffer economically from a failure to secure a trade deal, most economists think the British economy would take a greater hit, at least in the near-term, as it is relatively more reliant on trade with the EU than vice versa.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned that the long-term impact of a no-deal Brexit on the British economy would be greater than the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The bank expects the British economy to end the year around 12% smaller and to not recover its virus-related losses until early 2022.

“I think it’s in the best interests of both sides for there to be a trade agreement and for that trade agreement to have a strong element of goodwill around it on how it’s implemented,” he told British lawmakers on the Treasury Select Committee.

Any deal brokered by Barnier and his British counterpart, David Frost, would need to be approved by the individual EU countries and the European Parliament. The legislature is even considering meeting around Christmas, when it is usually enjoying a long recess, to make any deadline.

The bloc accuses Britain of wanting to retain access to the EU’s lucrative markets, much like any EU country, without agreeing to follow all its rules. The EU fears Britain will slash social and environmental standards, and pump state money into U.K. industries, becoming a low-regulation economic rival on the bloc’s doorstep.

Britain says the EU is making unreasonable demands and is failing to treat it as an independent, sovereign state, especially when it comes to the control of its fishing waters.

If the talks resume in person from Thursday, they would be held in London.

___

Pan Pylas in London contributed to this report.

G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus

G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus

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FILE – In this March 26, 2020, file photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi King Salman, chairs a video call of world leaders from the Group of 20 and other international bodies and organizations, from his office in … more >

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By AYA BATRAWY

Associated Press

Saturday, November 21, 2020

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The Group of 20 summit opened on Saturday with appeals by the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year’s gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate international cooperation in crises – but has also underscored their shortcomings.

“We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance,” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said in the summit’s opening remarks.

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While G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars toward developing a vaccine for the virus, they have also mostly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies. Countries such as Britain, the U.S., France and Germany – all G-20 member states – have directly negotiated deals with pharmaceutical companies to receive billions of doses, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply next year is already reserved.

U.S. President Donald Trump highlighted what the U.S. has done to response to the coronavirus and rebuild the economy and work on vaccines, which are expected to become available soon, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Trump, however, appeared not to have acknowledged that Joe Biden won this month’s presidential election.

“It’s been a great honor to work with you and I look forward to working with you again for a long time,” Trump said, according to audio obtained by The Guardian. The South China Morning Post reported similar comments.

A day before the summit, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that while $10 billion has been invested in efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, another $28 billion is needed for mass manufacturing, procurement and delivery of new COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Guterres called on more G-20 nations to join COVAX, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. The United States has declined to join under Trump.

The pandemic has had a far-reaching economic impact on developing countries and pushed millions into extreme poverty. It has also plagued the world’s wealthiest nations, with nine G-20 countries ranking highest globally for the most cases of COVID-19 recorded. The United States tops the list, followed by India, Brazil, France, Russia, Spain, the U.K., Argentina and Italy, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Three G-20 leaders participating in the summit have been infected by the coronavirus this year: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Trump.

The virus shows no signs of abating as major cities in the U.S. and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews. The World Health Organization says more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past four weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic.

The International Labor Organization says an equivalent of 225 million full-time jobs were lost in G-20 countries alone in the third quarter of 2020. G-20 member-countries represent around 85% of the world’s economic output and three-quarters of international trade.

In a sign of the times, the traditional “family photo” of leaders in the summit was digitally designed and superimposed on a historical site just outside the Saudi capital, Riyadh, which would have hosted the gathering. The kingdom has presided over the G-20 this year.

As part of the summit, seven leaders released video messages on “Pandemic Preparedness and Response”. France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned of the challenges in obtaining “universal access to health technologies against COVID-19”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for strengthening the World Health Organization and stressed the pandemic can only be overcome if an affordable vaccine is available to all nations.

In a video statement released ahead of the summit, Johnson appealed to global leaders to harness the resources of the world’s wealthiest nations to end the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle climate change.

“Our fates are in each other’s hands,” said Johnson, who plans to attend two virtual events at the summit while self-isolating at home in London after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Bolsonaro, who spent months downplaying the severity of the virus while deaths mounted rapidly inside Brazil, emphasized in a video message that world leaders “should take care of people’s health and of the economy at the same time.”

President Trump also participated in the closed-door virtual sessions that are taking place Saturday and Sunday. It does not appear that any leaders dropped out of the summit, despite calls by rights groups, lawmakers and EU parliamentarians for leaders to boycott the gathering to protest Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and war in Yemen.

G-20 heads of state last gathered virtually for an emergency meeting in March as the coronavirus was fast-spreading around the world. At the time, they vowed “to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

G-20 nations have since agreed to suspend debt payments for the world’s poorest countries until mid-2021 to allow those nations to focus their spending on health care and stimulus programs. The U.N. secretary general, however, has called on the G-20 to extend debt repayments through the end of 2021 and expand the scope to middle-income countries in need.

“I am confident that the Riyadh summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world, ” King Salman said.

___

Associated Press writers Danica Kirka in London, Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.

UK’s Johnson, praised by Trump, seeks new UK bond with Biden

UK’s Johnson, praised by Trump, seeks new UK bond with Biden

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By JILL LAWLESS and PAN PYLAS

Associated Press

Sunday, November 8, 2020

LONDON (AP) – Boris Johnson’s famous charm worked wonders on Donald Trump, but he faces a tougher audience in Joe Biden.

Johnson promised Sunday to work with the U.S. president-elect to spread democracy, defend human rights and combat climate change, as he sought to woo a leader who sees the world very differently to the outgoing American leader.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 10 Downing St., Johnson stressed the strength of trans-Atlantic ties, saying the two countries’ “common global perspective” would be vital to shore up a rules-based global order that is under threat.

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“The United States is our closest and most important ally,” said Johnson, who hasn’t yet spoken to Biden since he became president-elect. “And that’s been the case under president after president, prime minister after prime minister. It won’t change.”

It won’t change, but it may be strained. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, a cause Johnson championed, and Trump’s election happened within a few months of each other in 2016. Ever since, many have seen the two events as twin eruptions of populism.

Conservative Party leader Johnson is widely seen as an ally – and to critics, a copy – of the “America First” Trump, who has referred to Johnson approvingly as “Britain Trump.” Johnson has praised Trump’s handling of the U.S. economy and his deal-making skills.

Biden has called the British leader a “clone” of Trump, and has warned that Brexit will leave Britain’s status “diminished.”

Johnson on Sunday stressed his commitment to internationalism, particularly in the fight against climate change, an issue where he and Biden share a common view. While Trump has dismissed the threats posed by a changing climate and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord – a decision Biden says he will reverse – Johnson aims to reduce U.K. carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Britain is due to host the COP26 global climate summit in 2021, a year later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think now with President Biden in the White House in Washington, we have the real prospect of American global leadership in tackling climate change,” said Johnson, in an implicit criticism of Trump.

Since World War II, the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” has been sustained by a common language, shared interests, military cooperation and cultural affection. Sometimes that has been bolstered by close personal bonds, such as the friendship between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, or between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

It has endured even when leaders’ relations were less cordial, as when British Prime Minister Harold Wilson refused to join the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

“There is far more that unites the government of this country and government in Washington any time, any stage, than divides us,” Johnson said.

“We have common values. We have common interests. We have a common global perspective. There’s a huge amount of work we need to do together to protect those values: a belief in democracy, in free speech around the world, in human rights, in free trade, in the rules-based international order.”

Brexit may test those bonds. The U.S. still values Britain’s role as a European economic and military power and a member of the intelligence-sharing “Five Eyes” alliance. But Biden has made clear that he intends to rebuild bridges with the EU, a frequent target of Trump’s ire. That suggests Berlin, Brussels and Paris, rather than London, will be uppermost in his thoughts.

Britain had been hoping to secure a quick trade agreement with the U.S. after its official departure from the EU in January. The change in administration in Washington leaves prospects of a deal uncertain.

Biden, who is fiercely proud of his Irish roots, has warned there will be no deal if contentious Brexit-related legislation planned by Johnson’s government undermines Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

Johnson said he still hoped to get a U.S. trade deal but knew the Americans would be “tough negotiators.”

Uncertainty over U.S. trade raises pressure on Johnson to seal a free trade agreement with the EU before the U.K. makes an economic split from the 27-nation bloc at the end of this year.

U.K.=EU trade talks, bogged down for months, are due to resume Monday, with the deadline imposed by the two sides just days away.

“I’ve always been a great enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners,” said Johnson, who has repeatedly said he is prepared to walk away without an agreement. “I think it’s there to be done. The broad outlines are pretty clear. We just need to get them to do it if we can.”

David Manning, who was British ambassador to the U.S. between 2003 and 2007, said the result of the U.S. election was good for Britain despite the “awkward” backdrop of Brexit and Trump.

“It is clear that President-elect Biden was opposed to Brexit, he thinks it is bad for Britain and it is bad for Europe, but it is a fact and he will be a realist,” Manning told Times Radio.

___

Follow all developments on the Brexit trade talks at https://apnews.com/Brexit.

England faces new lockdown as UK virus cases pass 1 million

England faces new lockdown as UK virus cases pass 1 million

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L Frank Plugge wears a mask and gloves as he sells poppies to raise money for the Royal British Legion annual poppy appeal in London, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Around 100,000 people are catching the coronavirus every day in England, … more >

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By Jill Lawless

Associated Press

Saturday, October 31, 2020

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new month-long lockdown for England after being warned that without tough action a resurgent coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm hospitals in weeks.

On the day the U.K. passed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Johnson made a sudden about-face and confirmed that stringent restrictions on business and daily life would begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.

He said at a televised news conference that “no responsible prime minister” could ignore the grim figures.

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“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day,” said Johnson, who was hospitalized earlier this year for a serious case of COVID-19.

Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants can only offer take-out, non-essential shops must close and people will only be able to leave home for a short list of reasons including exercise. Activities ranging from haircuts to foreign holidays must once again be put on hold.

Unlike during the U.K.’s first three-month lockdown earlier this year, schools, universities, construction sites and manufacturing businesses will stay open.

As in other European countries, virus cases in the U.K. began to climb after lockdown measures were eased in the summer and people began to return to workplaces, schools, universities and social life.

Johnson had hoped a set of regional restrictions introduced earlier in October would be enough to push numbers down. But government scientific advisers predict that on the outbreak’s current trajectory, demand for hospital beds will exceed capacity by the first week of December, even if temporary hospitals set up during the first peak of the virus are reopened.

Johnson came under mounting pressure to act as scientists warned COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the U.K. could soon surpass the levels seen at the outbreak’s spring peak, when daily deaths topped 1,000. As European countries such as France, Germany and Belgium in imposing a second lockdown amid surging caseloads, it looked inevitable that Johnson would have to follow.

London School of Hygiene epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s scientific advisory group, said Saturday that cases were running “significantly above” a reasonable worst-case scenario drawn up by modelers.

“It is really unthinkable now, unfortunately, that we don’t count our deaths in tens of thousands from this wave,” Edmunds told the BBC. “The issue is, is that going to be low tens of thousands if we take radical action now or is that going to be the high tens of thousands if we don’t?”

Official figures announced Saturday recorded 21,915 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing Britain’s total since the start of the pandemic to 1,011,660. Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus is 46,555, the highest in Europe, with 326 new deaths announced Saturday.

The United States, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia have also recorded more than 1 million cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Scientists say the true number of cases is much higher because not everyone with the virus is tested.

The new measures apply to England. Other parts of the U.K. set their own public health measures, with Wales and Northern Ireland already effectively in lockdown and Scotland under a set of tough regional restrictions.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Saturday that for now people in Scotland should not travel to or from England, “except for essential purposes.”

Lucy Powell, business spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party, accused the government of “dithering” and said the country was now facing a longer lockdown than if Johnson had acted sooner.

But Johnson is also under pressure from some members of his Conservative Party, who oppose tighter restrictions because of the economic damage they cause. Any new lockdown will need Parliament’s approval in a vote scheduled for Wednesday.

Owners of businesses that have struggled to get back on their feet since the first lockdown was eased said the impact of new closures would be devastating.

“People have borrowed up to the hilt and spent money in order to get COVID-secure,” said Kate Nicholls of pub and restaurant industry group Hospitality U.K. “There is no spare capacity in the tank to be able to fund a lockdown, even for three to four weeks.”

A government program that has paid the wages of millions of furloughed employees during the pandemic was due to end Saturday, but will be extended during the new lockdown.

Johnson had planned to announce the lockdown in Parliament on Monday, but was forced into early action after the Times of London reported the news. The government said there would be an investigation into the leak.

The U.K. is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and government statisticians say the true figure is far higher. The Office for National Statistics estimated Friday that 1 in 100 people in England, well over half a million, had the virus in the week to Oct. 23.

Jeremy Farrar, director of medical research charity the Wellcome Trust and a government adviser, said swift action would avoid many more deaths.

“The best time to act was a month ago but these are very tough decisions which we would all like to avoid,” he tweeted. “The second-best time is now.”

___

Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

UK-US trade pact opposed with Trump, cows and pigs as props

UK-US trade pact opposed with Trump, cows and pigs as props

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A mask of US President Donald Trump is seen in Parliament Square, as part of a day of action against the US trade deal, ten days before the US Presidential election, in London, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. There will will … more >

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By

Associated Press

Saturday, October 24, 2020

LONDON (AP) – Demonstrators dressed as chickens, a cow and President Donald Trump gathered Saturday in London to protest a proposed U.S.-U.K. trade deal that activists say will lower food safety standards.

Some 50 people assembled near the Houses of Parliament to protest the ongoing negotiations for the trade deal, which the U.K. government is counting on to cushion the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union. Demonstrators are worried the agreement will relax rules for food imports from the U.S.

One protester wore an oversized Trump head and carried a giant syringe to highlight concerns that beef treated with hormones could be sold in the U.K. Critics are also worried about the importation of chickens washed in chlorine, a practice they suggest covers up poor animal husbandry practices.

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Another demonstrator dressed as a cow named Daisy. Asked whether she was uneasy about the possible lowering of food standards, she nodded and said: “Moo.’’

UK-EU trade talks back on after bloc offers olive branch

UK-EU trade talks back on after bloc offers olive branch

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European Council President Charles Michel addresses the chamber on a report of last weeks EU summit during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP) more >

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By RAF CASERT and JILL LAWLESS

Associated Press

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

BRUSSELS (AP) – Britain and the European Union will resume their stalled trade negotiations at an “intensified” pace, the British government said Wednesday, in hope of striking a deal within weeks to avoid a messy economic breakup at the end of he year.

The announcement came five days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that the talks were over unless the bloc made a “fundamental” change of policy,

There is little sign that has happened. But Britain seized on conciliatory comments by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, saying they offered the chance of a breakthrough.

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Barnier has already agreed to “intensify” talks – a key U.K. demand – and to discuss the legal text of an agreement. On Wednesday he said compromise would be needed from both sides to get a deal.

That turned out to be the key. Britain has long complained that the EU expects it to make all the concessions.

Johnson’s office said that on the basis of Barnier’s words it was “ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week” for “intensified” talks.

“It is clear that significant gaps remain between our positions in the most difficult areas, but we are ready, with the EU, to see if it is possible to bridge them in intensive talks,” Downing St. said in a statement.

Barnier spokesman Daniel Ferrie said EU negotiators would travel to London on Thursday. The first chunk of negotiations is due to run through the weekend.

Barnier told the European Parliament that “despite the difficulties we’ve faced, an agreement is within reach if both sides are willing to work constructively, if they are willing to compromise.”

He also said that “the European Union’s attitude in this negotiation has in no way shifted and it will not shift.”

But Downing Street focused on Barnier’s words about compromise and his acknowledgement that a deal would have to respect the U.K.’s “sovereignty,” a key term for British Brexit supporters.

The two sides have been trying to strike a trade deal since the U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31. They must do so within weeks if an agreement is to be ratified by the end of the year, when a post-Brexit transition period ends.

Johnson’s about-face will reinforce suspicions that his walkout was a gesture designed to inject momentum into the sluggish talks.

The two sides have come close to agreement in many areas during months of fraught negotiations, though big gaps remain over fishing rights – highly symbolic for maritime nations on both sides – and rules to ensure common regulatory standards and fair competition.

The EU fears the U.K. will gain an unfair advantage by slashing food, workplace and environmental standards and pumping state money into businesses once it is free of the bloc’s rules.

The bloc also accuses Britain of seeking the kind of unfettered access to its markets usually reserved for EU members.

“The U.K. wants access to a single market while at the same time being able to diverge from our standards and regulations when it suits them,” European Council President Charles Michel told the European Parliament on Wednesday. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Britain accuses the bloc of seeking to impose demands that it has not placed on other countries it has free trade deals with, such as Canada.

If there is no deal, businesses on both sides of the English Channel face tariffs and other obstacles to trade starting Jan. 1. British business groups warn that could mean border delays, soaring prices and shortages of some goods.

Barnier’s emollient tone contrasted with the combative stance of Michel, who said that if Britain wants vast access to the 27-member bloc’s markets, it will have to keep its waters open to EU fishermen, something the U.K. is refusing to do.

“Yes, we want to keep access to U.K. waters for our fishermen,” Michel said. “Exactly like the U.K., too, (wants) to keep access to our huge and diversified markets for its companies.”

EU leaders also remain angry over the U.K.’s plans to disregard some parts of the legally binding withdrawal agreement it signed with the bloc.

If passed, the Internal Market Bill will allow the British government to override parts agreement relating to trade with Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. to share a border with the EU.

Johnson’s government says it needs the legislation as an insurance policy in case the EU behaves unreasonably after a post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31 and tries to impede the flow of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.

The bloc sees it as a flagrant breach of an international treaty that could undermine the delicate foundations of Northern Ireland’s peace settlement, created by the 1998 Good Friday accord.

___

Jill Lawless reported from London.

___

Follow all AP stories about Brexit at https://apnews.com/hub/brexit

UK says EU trade talks ‘over’ but bloc sees room for a deal

UK says EU trade talks ‘over’ but bloc sees room for a deal

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European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier leaves after addressing a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. European Union leaders met in person for the first day … more >

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By JILL LAWLESS and RAF CASERT

Associated Press

Friday, October 16, 2020

LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that the U.K. must prepare for a no-deal break with the European Union unless there is a “fundamental” change of position from the bloc, as the two sides swapped blame for failing to strike a trade deal with just weeks until the end-of-year deadline.

The EU said it was ready to continue negotiating, but Britain declared the talks as good as dead.

“The trade talks are over,” Johnson’s spokesman James Slack said. “The EU have effectively ended them yesterday,” he said, by stating at a summit in Brussels that the U.K. would have to significantly change position or there would be no deal.

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EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the bloc was still willing to seek compromise, and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the EU still wanted a deal — though “not at any price.” Von der Leyen announced that EU negotiator Michel Barnier would head to London next week “to intensify these negotiations.”

Downing St. appeared to rebuff that offer.

“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he is prepared discuss all the issues on the basis of legal texts in an accelerated way without the U.K. being required to make all of the moves,” Slack said.

The EU said it saw several more weeks of detailed talks ahead which would by their very nature have to deal with legal wording, and said both sides would have to budge.

Britain ramped up tensions without definitively making good on Johnson’s threat to walk away from negotiations if a deal was not struck at the EU summit which ended Friday.

Johnson said in London that the EU had “abandoned the idea of a free trade deal” by not giving in to the U.K.’s demand for a generous free trade agreement like the one the bloc has with Canada.

“Unless there is a fundamental change of approach we are going to go for the Australia solution,” Johnson said.

Australia has no comprehensive trade deal with the EU. Johnson’s Conservative government insists Britain can still thrive under those conditions, which would mean tariffs and other barriers between the U.K. and the EU, its biggest trading partner. But many economists say it would be devastating for many British businesses, which are already struggling with a huge economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain officially left the EU on Jan. 31 but remains part of its economic structures until Dec. 31. The two sides have been trying to strike a deal on trade and other relations before then, and say in practice it must be agreed by early next month if it is to be ratified by year’s end.

Months of talks have ground to a halt on the issues of fishing – highly symbolic for maritime nations on both sides – and rules to ensure common regulatory standards and fair competition. The EU fears the U.K. will gain an unfair advantage by slashing food, workplace and environmental standards and pumping state money into businesses once it is free of the bloc’s rules.

Britain accuses the bloc of seeking to impose demands that it has not placed on other countries it has free trade deals with.

“They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country,” Johnson said.

The EU says Britain can’t have the same trade terms as Canada because of its proximity to the bloc and its economic clout. The EU and Canada do about 55 billion euros ($65 billion) worth of trade a year, compared to 500 billion euros between the U.K. and the bloc.

Britain often produces the same products on the EU’s doorstep, and granting it zero-tariff, zero-quota rights without strict regulation would be an economic nightmare for many on the continent.

“The U.K, says it wants ‘Canada.’ But the problem with that is that the U.K. is not Canada,” Barnier has said.

Merkel said it was in both sides’ interest to have a deal. “We are prepared to continue negotiating. We have seen light but of course also still shadows in the most recent negotiations,” she said.

Rutte said that there was plenty of realism among EU leaders that compromise had to come from both sides.

“You know you will never get everything that you always wanted,” he said, “It will always end up with a compromise.”

He said that, despite the negative optics, “I look at Johnson’s statement that he wants to be positive.”

French President Emmanuel Marcon said a deal “requires effort, particularly from the U.K.”

“Let’s keep in mind that it is the U.K. that wanted to leave the EU and needs an agreement much more than we do,” he said in Brussels.

___

Raf Casert reported from Brussels. Samuel Petrequin in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.

EU: Brexit trade talks to go on past Thursday deadline

EU: Brexit trade talks to go on past Thursday deadline

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Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa, left, is welcomed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP) more >

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By RAF CASERT

Associated Press

Thursday, October 15, 2020

BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brexit trade negotiations will continue past Thursday’s deadline set by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and could continue into next month.

At an EU summit, the 27-country bloc’s leaders came out united to still seek a deal despite the dwindling time for agreement.

“The negotiations aren’t over,” Barnier said. “We shall remain available until the last possible day.” Barnier added that his team would be traveling to London for more talks next week and would host negotiations in Brussels the week after that.

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He also insisted that EU negotiators “are prepared to speed up negotiations,” countering a Tweet form his U.K. counterpart David Frost that said: ”“Surprised EU is no longer committed to working ‘intensively’ to reach a future partnership.”

Barnier said he saw talks continuing for “two or three weeks.”

Johnson had set the first day of the EU summit on Thursday as the deadline to get a trade and security deal to replace Britain’s EU membership that expired on Jan. 31. A transition period is set to end on Jan. 1, forcing negotiators to work fast if any deal still is to get legislative approval and legal vetting in the little time left.

EU leaders quickly addressed the issue at the opening of their two-day summit, and in a statement they called “on the U.K. to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.”

Knowing the chances of a deal are slimmer by the day, they also urged all in the EU to “step up their work on preparedness and readiness at all levels and for all outcomes, including that of no agreement.”

“It is for the U.K. now to commit itself and there are far too many areas where things don’t progress as they should,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Beyond the call for speed, the leaders were also set to flaunt their unity, something Britain has failed to dent during years of talks on the withdrawal conditions and now on a bare trade deal with the new non-member.

Johnson’s office said after a video call with EU leaders Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen that the prime minister “looked forward to hearing the outcome of the European (Summit) and would reflect before setting out the U.K.’s next steps.”

Few doubt that Johnson will lean toward continuing the talks for a few more weeks. The negotiations remain in a deep rut over differences on the issues of state aid, common standards of regulation and fishing rights.

“Britain has already imposed so many deadlines that came and went,” said Rutte, arguing it was time to concentrate on content instead. During the Brexit divorce talks several deadlines were imposed as a final chance to get a deal, only to see both sides grudgingly negotiate further afterward.

All acknowledge that little progress was made recently on the key issues. Johnson’s office said that the prime minister in his talks with the two EU leaders “expressed his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks.”

A trade deal has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of jobs and would avoid worsening the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“With COVID-19 having such a devastating impact on society and on the economies in the United Kingdom and across Europe, obviously I think leaders will not want to hit citizens with a shock in terms of what a no-deal would represent, a significant additional shock to our respective societies and economies,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.

Overall, the EU says Britain is trying to retain the advantages of EU membership without the commitment to play by the bloc’s rules. Britain says it is baffled it can’t get a quick deal with generous free trade concessions like Canada got a few years ago.

But EU nations like France want the access of U.K. companies to the EU market to be very strict because of the nation’s sheer proximity and the similarity in goods and service that are traded. They want to make sure British firms won’t be able to undercut their continental rivals with weaker environmental and social regulation and excessive state subsidies.

France is viewed, especially by Britain, as one of the nations most unwilling to compromise, especially on the issue of French boats’ access to British fishing waters.

“Under any circumstance, our fishermen should not be sacrificed for Brexit,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. The fisheries issue was supposed to be settled in July to give the industry time to adapt, but that was another deadline which fell by the wayside.

Since last month, the member states have also become ardent in demanding legal guarantees on governance of any deal after Johnson introduced legislation in September that breaches the Brexit withdrawal agreement he himself signed with the EU only last year.

It left trust in the Johnson government shattered, and the European Parliament, which must approve any deal, has vowed not to approve any trade deal if the U.K. government doesn’t withdraw this legislation. Britain says it will keep the legislation, with the option to use it if necessary.

___

Jill Lawless contributed to this report from London.

Johnny Depp takes stand in libel trial, claims Amber Heard hit him

At libel trial, Johnny Depp blasts Amber Heard’s ‘sick’ abuse claim

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Johnny Depp, second left, wearing a protective mask arrives at the Royal Court of Justice, in London, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Johnny Depp is suing a tabloid newspaper for libel over an article that branded him a “wife beater.” On … more >

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By Jill Lawless

Associated Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

LONDON (AP) — Johnny Depp said Tuesday that ex-wife Amber Heard had made “sick” claims of abuse and falsely branded him a monster, as the actor testified in a U.K. libel case that hinges on who was the aggressor in the celebrity couple’s violent, toxic relationship.

Depp is suing British tabloid The Sun over an April 2018 story headlined “Potty – How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” The newspaper’s lawyers plan to use Heard’s allegations of abuse by Depp to defend the “wife beater” claim.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star strongly denies Heard’s claims that he assaulted her during their tempestuous marriage, and is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton.

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“These sick claims are totally untrue,” Depp said in a written witness statement, adding that Heard’s allegations hurt his career and had “been a constant issue in my casting.”

A three-week trial over his libel claims opened Tuesday at the High Court in London. It is one of the first major cases to be held in person since Britain began to lift its coronavirus lockdown.

Depp entered the witness box of the wood-paneled courtroom wearing a dark suit and tie, and began by taking the court oath and giving his full name: John Christopher Depp II.

He told the court that Heard had “said to the world that she was in fear of her life from me, and I had been this horrible monster, if you will. Which was not the case.”

Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017, and now bitterly accuse one another of abuse.

Depp and Heard arrived by separate entrances at the neo-Gothic court building. Both wore face coverings over their noses and mouths as they arrived. Proceedings have been spread over several courtrooms to allow for social distancing.

While Heard isn’t on trial, the case is also a showdown between the former spouses, who accuse each other of being controlling, violent and deceitful. It is set to put the two performers’ complex private lives under a microscope.

The Sun’s defense relies on Heard’s allegations of 14 incidents of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations including Los Angeles, Australia, Japan, the Bahamas and a chartered jet. He denies them all and says Heard, an actress and model, attacked him with items including a drink can and a cigarette. He also claims that on one occasion Heard or one of her friends defecated on his bed.

In written witness statements, Depp said that in Australia in 2015 Heard severed the tip of his finger by hurling a vodka bottle at him. A photo of the bloody digit was included with his witness statement.

Depp claimed that on another occasion, Heard repeatedly punched him in the face on a private jet, forcing him to spend the flight locked in the plane’s bathroom.

“Rage-filled violent incidents on planes were common with Amber,” he said in the written statement.

Describing one incident in which Heard claims he hit her, Depp said the opposite was true.

“As things tended to do, (it) escalated and got physical, ending with a bit of assault. Ms. Heard struck me,” he said.

He painted himself as a peacemaker who tried to remove himself from conflicts “before things got out of hand.”

In a written statement, Depp alleged that Heard was “a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest.”

Heard alleges that Depp was prone to drink- and drug-fueled violent rages.
Under cross-examination by The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, Depp acknowledged taking myriad drugs over the years, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, magic mushrooms and prescription painkillers.

He said his drug use began when he was an 11-year-old child with “not a particularly stable or secure or safe home life.” He said it was “the only way that I found to numb the pain.”

Depp acknowledged that he had struggled with fame, saying it meant he was “forced to live the life of a fugitive.”

“Anonymity doesn’t exist anymore. … You have become a product,” he said.
Wass depicted Depp as someone with an anger management problem, bringing up an 1989 arrest for assault and a later incident in which he damaged a New York hotel room.

“I was angry, but that doesn’t mean I have an anger problem,” Depp said.

Wass played the court a video clip recorded by Heard that shows Depp kicking kitchen cupboards and swearing before pouring red wine from a large bottle.
While saying he “wasn’t particularly proud of myself” over the video, Depp denied that it showed he became a “monster” when he drank and took drugs.

“It’s not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he said.

Heard is due to give evidence later in the trial. Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said Heard had recently asked that one allegation be heard in private “because of its supposedly horrific nature.”

Witnesses for Depp are scheduled to include his former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder.

Depp is also suing Heard in the United States for $50 million for allegedly defaming him in a Washington Post article about domestic abuse. That case is due to be heard next year.

Sherborne said in an opening statement that the actor had sued The Sun to “clear his reputation.”

“This is not a case about money,” he said. “It is about vindication.”

English pubs are reopening — they won’t be the same

English pubs are reopening — they won’t be the same

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Owner Are Kjetil Kolltveit from Norway places markers for social distancing on the front of the bar at the Chandos Arms pub in London, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Asking people in English pubs to keep their distance is going to … more >

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By Pan Pylas

Associated Press

Friday, July 3, 2020

LONDON (AP) — Asking people in English pubs to keep their distance is going to be tough after they’ve had a few of their favorite tipples.

Pub managers will have to be resourceful come Saturday when they and other parts of the hospitality industry in England open their doors to customers for the first time since March 20, provided they meet COVID safety requirements.

The British government has been accused of being reckless in allowing pubs to open again, given coronavirus infection and death rates are still high and amid evidence that reopening bars in countries like the U.S. has led to new outbreaks. The U.K. has recorded nearly 44,000 virus-related deaths, third behind the United States and Brazil.

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Many cash-starved pubs will take the plunge anyway, though they will be very different from what they were when they shut down given the need to ensure everyone is safe – from registering customers upon entrance to making sure tables are far enough apart to meet social distancing rules.

“I’m nervous,” said Are Kolltveit, who runs the Chandos Arms in north London with his wife Emily. They have turned around the fortunes of the pub in the past few years by taking it back to the community, offering activities like live music – in addition to a finely poured pint of ale. It was voted Best Local in the 2019 British Pub Awards.

“It won’t be the same, but we’ll do our best to make it just as great as ever,” he said.

The pandemic is an existential threat to most of England’s 37,500 pubs. The Chandos, and countless others, have benefited from government measures, notably a wage support scheme that prevented mass firings. Around 90% of pub staff were furloughed under the scheme, according to the Beer and Pub Association.

Reopening offers hope to publicans like Kolltveit, but margins are tight.

Kolltveit wants to think people will abide by the rules, given the pandemic is still ongoing, and says his pub can survive for around five months without further help – provided it runs at 50% of maximum capacity and there’s no second spike in contagions or a new lockdown on businesses.

“The best pubs are extensions of the landlord’s personality and the atmosphere of the pub is going to be massively challenged, but I think the best publicans will find ways of reinventing it in some way,” said Pete Brown, an award-winning beer writer.

When they reopen, pubs will need to ensure table service, a move that halts the cherished tradition of the English boozer – crowding and chatting around the bar. Guests will be limited to groups of six and, where possible, sit side by side to reduce any risk of contagion that may come from shouting too loudly.

They will be spaced at least one meter (3.3 feet) apart and be encouraged to take other measures to keep themselves safe, such as using hand sanitizers. The wearing of masks, even by staff, is optional.

Pub staff will also have to register the names of customers at the door – and keep them for 21 days – to assist in any efforts to trace virus contagions.

Tim Sheehan, co-owner of Franklins, a pub and restaurant in southeast London, is annoyed by the effective enrolment of the hospitality industry in the effort to track and trace contagions and wonders how he is meant to verify anyone’s health or identity.

“How many Mr. and Mrs. Presleys are we going to get? And how do you go about asking people personal questions?,” he said. “I’m dreading it in that respect.”

He’s also concerned it will be “like New Year’s Eve” in some pubs, particularly those that cater to younger people, and that social distancing guidelines “may go out of the window after people have had a few shandies.”

“We are moving to the stage where the advice is to essentially use common sense,” said Jon Cross, a 40-year-old accountant in north London.

“Most people will trust their local to make the right choices,” added Cross who said he’d happily frequent his local pub, The Wrestlers, if it isn’t busy.

The guidelines are the same whatever the size and layout of the pub. But the challenges are likely to be very different for a huge venue like JD Wetherspoon’s The Moon Under Water in Manchester and a quaint country pub like The George at Burpham, tucked between a church and a cricket pitch in southern England.

Pubs like The George are inherent to the rhythm of their rural surrounding. It is starting with an outside barbecue on Saturday, followed by a traditional Sunday roast service indoors and out.

“Not since the Duke of Norfolk opened Arundel Railway Station on his land in August 1863 has a summer event been more eagerly awaited by Sussex locals than the re-opening of The George,” said Robert Essex, a 59-year-old marketing services executive and one of the locals who bought the pub in 2013.

Not everyone is reopening. The Tollington Arms, a pub near Arsenal’s soccer stadium in north London thinks the government is ignoring expert scientific advice and voiced worries about “contributing to a second wave of this pandemic.”

The next few weeks will judge the government’s decision but Brown thinks the pubs that responded to their community’s needs during lockdown by showing an “entrepreneurial spirit” will thrive, or at least survive.

“I’ve seen that being reinvented during lockdown by pubs doing things like collecting prescriptions, or doing takeout deliveries.”

U.K. judge warns Julian Assange on U.S. extradition hearing attendance

U.K. judge warns Julian Assange on U.S. extradition hearing attendance

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Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange protest in front of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Monday, June 29, 2020, where he is expected to appear in custody for the extradition case management hearing. Assange was arrested last year after being … more >

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By

Associated Press

Monday, June 29, 2020

LONDON (AP) — A British judge said Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must attend his next court hearing unless he can provide medical evidence to support his absence.

Lawyers for Assange said he could not attend the latest hearing on his U.S. extradition case by video link from prison for medical reasons.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser set another hearing date of July 27 and said Assange must appear “unless there is medical evidence” to explain his non-attendance.

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The 48-year-old Australian has been indicted in the U.S. on 18 charges over the publication of classified documents. Prosecutors say he conspired with U.S. army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password, hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last week the U.S. Justice Department added a new, superseding, indictment that alleges Assange conspired with members of hacking organizations and sought to recruit hackers to provide WikiLeaks with classified information. The indictment does not add any new charges, but broadens the allegations against Assange.

Assange was arrested last year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

He is in London’s Belmarsh Prison awaiting a full extradition hearing, which has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally due to begin in May, it is now scheduled to start on Sept. 7.

Julian Assange case: 10 major developments since WikiLeaks publisher’s arrest

Julian Assange case: 10 major developments since WikiLeaks publisher’s arrest

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In this May 1, 2019, file photo, buildings are reflected in the window as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taken from court in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) more >

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By Andrew Blake

The Washington Times

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The superseding indictment unsealed against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange Wednesday is the latest in a growing list of developments to emerge since he was arrested last April. Here is a list of 10 key moments in the Australian’s case that have transpired in the 14 months that followed as he remains jailed in London fighting a U.S. extradition request.

1) April 11, 2019

The U.S. Department of Justice unseals a criminal indictment charging Assange shortly after he is arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012. Filed under seal by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va., the indictment charges him with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for allegedly having offered to help former WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning try to hack into a protected military network eight years earlier. The Justice Department says the U.S. will accordingly seek Assange’s extradition from the U.K.

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2) May 23, 2019

A superseding indictment is filed charging Assange with 17 additional counts, all violations of the U.S. Espionage Act, related to receiving, obtaining and publishing classified material that Manning admittedly gave to WikiLeaks in 2010 to be published. Manning, a former Army analyst, previously served roughly seven years in military prison for her part.

3) May 31, 2019

Nils Melzer, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, strongly condemned the Justice Department’s prosecution of Assange after visiting him at Belmarsh Prison in London. In a statement, the UN expert said that he believed that the time Assange spent confined within the embassy and then imprisoned behind bars amounted to “psychological torture.”

4) September 20, 2019

President Trump, who had praised WikiLeaks during his 2016 campaign for publishing material damaging to his Democratic opponent in the race, declined to comment when asked about his government’s case against Assange. “Well, you know, that’s a question I haven’t heard in a long time. I’ll leave that to you to determine,” Mr. Trump said while fielding questions from reporters following a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

5) October 9, 2019

Spain’s National Court announces it is investigating a Spanish security firm accused of spying on Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Assange alleges the firm, Undercover Global SL, installed covert microphones and cameras throughout the compound that recorded his private conversation and meetings with visitors including doctors and lawyers, as seen in hidden video footage that has subsequently leaked. Undercover Global has called the allegations “totally false.”

6) November 26, 2019

Australia media reports that Mr. Morrison, the nation’s prime minister, said he is “unable to intervene” in efforts to have Assange extradited to the U.S., dismissing calls to get involved in the Aussie’s case.

7) February 19, 2020

A lawyer for Assange claims that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who holds the distinction of being the only sitting U.S. Congressman to have visited Assange at the embassy, said during their 2017 meeting that Mr. Trump was prepared to offer a pardon if the WikiLeaks publisher cleared Russia of involvement in his website’s acquisition of internal Democratic National Committee that it later published leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Spokespeople for the White House and Mr. Rohrabacher have denied the allegation.

8) Feb. 24, 2020

Extradition proceedings begin in London with a round of hearings held over the course of four days at Woolwich Crown Court in London. Another round had been scheduled to commence in May but has been postponed due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and has yet to take place.

9) April 11, 2020

Stella Moris-Smith Robertson, a lawyer close to Assange, reveals they conceived two children together while he lived at the embassy and that she and Assange are engaged to be married.

10) June 24, 2020

The Justice Department unseals a second superseding indictment against Assange. It does not charge Assange with any additional counts, but rather it broadens the scope of the conspiracy to commit computer intrusions charge to allege that he also recruited individuals involved with the Anonymous hacktivist movement to steal data for WikiLeaks. Reacting on Twitter the next day, WikiLeaks dismissed the latest filing as a “desperate PR move.”

Assange, 48, remains imprisoned at Belmarsh pending the outcome of his extradition trial, which is currently set to resume in London in September but could be postponed further. He faces a maximum sentence of 175 years imprisonment if sent to the U.S. and convicted of all counts.

Assange maintains he acted as a journalist by releasing the classified material he is charged with making public, which includes hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables, previously unpublished information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and details about the foreign detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, among other documents leaked by Manning.

U.S. ambassador confirms American among U.K. terror victims

U.S. ambassador confirms American among U.K. terror victims

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Flower tributes at the entrance to Holt School in Wokingham, England, in memory of teacher James Furlong, a victim of a terror attack in nearby Reading, Monday June 22, 2020. A lone terror suspect remains in custody accused of killing … more >

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By

Associated Press

Monday, June 22, 2020

LONDON (AP) — An American man was among the three victims stabbed to death in a park in the English town of Reading that is being treated as a terror attack, the U.S. ambassador to Britain confirmed Monday.

Ambassador Woody Johnson offered his “deepest condolences” to the families of those killed in the attack on June 20. A 25-year-old man who is believed to be the lone attacker is in custody but officials said the motive for the carnage was unclear.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected,” Johnson said. “We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement.”

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Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded in the stabbing attack Saturday evening in Forbury Gardens park in Reading, a town of 200,000 people 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of London.

The Philadelphia Inquirer named the American victim as Joe Ritchie-Bennett, a friend of James Furlong, a history teacher named by his school as one of the victims.

Ritchie-Bennett was 39 and had moved to England from the U.S. around 15 years ago. His father, Robert Ritchie, said his son worked for a law firm in London before taking a job about 10 years ago at a Dutch pharmaceutical company that had its British headquarters in Reading.

Britain’s official terrorism threat level remains at “substantial” after the attack.

Reading stabbings a terrorist attack, police say

Deadly U.K. stabbing spree a terrorist attack, police say

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Armed police officers work at a block of flats off Basingstoke Road in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens park in the town centre of Reading, England, early Sunday, June 21, 2020. Several people were injured in a stabbing … more >

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By Jill Lawless and Alastair Grant

Associated Press

Sunday, June 21, 2020

READING, England — A stabbing rampage in Britain that killed three people as they sat in a park on a summer evening is being considered a terrorist attack, British police said Sunday as a 25-year-old believed to be the lone attacker was in custody.

Authorities said they were not looking for any other suspects, and they did not raise Britain’s official terrorism threat level from “substantial.”

“Motivation for this horrific act is far from certain,” said Neil Basu, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, as police combed the park where the carnage unfolded in Reading, a large commuter town west of London.

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Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded in the stabbing attack that came out of the blue in Reading’s Forbury Gardens park on Saturday evening.

Basu said “incredibly brave” unarmed officers from the Thames Valley Police force arrested a 25-year-old local man at the scene. The Thames Valley force later said counterterrorism detectives were taking over the investigation.

“There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter.

The Press Association news agency reported the suspect was an asylum-seeker from Libya who was living in Reading. Police have not identified him.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was being briefed on developments. His office said Johnson had met security officials, police and senior ministers on Sunday for an update on the investigation.

Police officers patrolled cordons on the roads leading to the park on Sunday, and blue-and-white tents were erected near the site of the attack. Overnight, heavily armed officers entered an apartment about a mile away, and a loud bang was heard.

The attack came a sunny summer evening in Reading, a town of 200,000 residents 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of London, as eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions allowed more people to socialize.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort said the park was full of groups sitting on the grass when “one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.”

“He stabbed three of them severely in the neck and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running,” Wort said.

The attack came hours after a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Forbury Gardens, but police said there was no connection between the two.

Britain has been hit by several terror attacks in recent years, both by people inspired by the Islamic State group and by far-right extremists. Islamist-inspired attacks include a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people in 2017 and two deadly vehicle and knife attacks in London the same year.

In several cases, attackers have been known to police. In November, a man who had been released after serving a prison sentence for a terrorism offense stabbed two people to death at a justice conference in London.

In February, a man recently released from prison after serving time for terrorism-related offenses strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on a busy London street before being shot to death by police. No one else was killed.

Britain’s official terrorism threat level stands at “substantial,” the middle level on a five-rung scale, meaning an attack is likely.

• Lawless reported from London.

Cables: US falsely said British queen backed 1953 Iran coup

Cables: US falsely said British queen backed 1953 Iran coup

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FILE – In this Sept. 27, 1951 file photo, Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh rides on the shoulders of cheering crowds in Tehran’s Majlis Square, outside the parliament building, after reiterating his oil nationalization views to his supporters. The U.S. ambassador … more >

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By JON GAMBRELL

Associated Press

Friday, June 12, 2020

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The U.S. ambassador to Iran mistakenly told the shah in 1953 that Britain’s newly enthroned Queen Elizabeth II backed a plan to overthrow the country’s elected prime minister and America maintained the fiction even after realizing the error, historians now say.

The revelation, based on U.S. diplomatic cables cited by the historians, shows how America has struggled even to this day to offer a full, unvarnished account of its actions in the coup that cemented Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s power and lit the fuse for Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“There’s an acceptance that you’re never going to have the whole story,” said Richard Aldrich, a professor at the University of Warwick whose research on the cables will be featured in a Channel 4 documentary in Britain on Sunday. “You’re on a journey to try and achieve a better history but you’re never going to have the complete story.”

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The 1953 coup ended up successfully empowering the shah, even after he fled to Baghdad and onto Italy when it looked as though it would fail. He would rule until 1979, when he fled the country before the Islamic Revolution, secretly and fatally ill with cancer.

The coup had roots in the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry, which at that time was majority owned by Britain. Mohammad Mosaddegh, who supported nationalization, then became Iran’s prime minister. Britain launched a blockade on the country and ultimately saw its Tehran embassy ordered closed.

The British, who had begun drawing up plans for a possible coup, then turned to the U.S. under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, fearful of the spread of communism amid the growing Cold War with the Soviet Union, gave the go-ahead for TPAJAX – the CIA codename for the coup plot.

Papers show the CIA at one point “stockpiled enough arms and demolition material to support a 10,000-man guerrilla organization for six months,” and paid out $5.3 million for bribes and other costs, which would be equivalent to $48 million today. One CIA document casually refers to the fact that “several leading members of these (Iranian) security services are paid agents of this organization.”

But the coup faced problems, chief among them the shah himself. Diplomats and spies referred to him as a “weak reed” and “petulant.” The CIA dismissively referred to him as “Boy Scout,” Aldrich said.

The shah grew fearful of Mosaddegh’s growing power and prepared to flee Iran in February 1953, months before the coup. U.S. Ambassador Loy W. Henderson rushed to the palace to try to see him. Instead, he got to Hosein Ala, the shah’s minister of court, who called the shah on a palace telephone line.

Despite fears the telephone may be tapped, Henderson spoke through Ala to the shah, as the Channel 4 documentary “The Queen and the Coup” and a later diplomatic cable by Henderson recounted.

“I had just received message indicating that very important personage for whom shah had most friendly feelings had also expressed sincere hope that shah could be dissuaded from leaving country,” Henderson wrote.

That cable, part of others released by the U.S. State Department’s historian in 2017, included a footnote mentioning another cable from the U.S. Embassy in London.

“Foreign Office this afternoon informed us of receipt message from (Foreign Minister Anthony) Eden from Queen Elizabeth expressing concern at latest developments re shah and strong hope we can find some means of dissuading him from leaving country,” the footnote reads.

That suggests Queen Elizabeth herself had sent a message. Instead, Eden at the time was aboard the vessel RMS Queen Elizabeth on his way to Canada, which is what American diplomats in London had meant to say.

The U.S. Embassy in London realized its mistake and fired off another cable that warned “Queen Elizabeth refers, of course to vessel and not … to monarch.” But Henderson at that point already had spoken to the shah.

Realizing the mistake, the U.S. Embassy in London wrote back that it “does not (repeat not) propose to inform British of incident.” But that intervention likely ended up helping goad the shah into staying in Iran for several more months – until the CIA launched the coup.

“In terms of the kind of chain of events, it’s important because, you know, frankly, the shah is a coward,” Aldrich told The Associated Press. “I don’t think the 1953 coup would have happened if the shah had fled then. At this point, there’s no doubt that he’s packed his bags and was pretty much going to the airport when this intervention happened.”

But those two cables acknowledging the error, which the historians found at the National Archives in Washington, don’t appear in the 2017 release by the State Department, which itself was meant to offer a fuller, warts-and-all accounting of American actions.

An initial 1989 release outlining the years surrounding the 1953 coup in Iran whitewashed the U.S. role in the coup. That led to the resignation of the historian in charge of a State Department review board and to Congress passing a law requiring that a more reliable historical account be made.

The State Department did not respond to an AP request for comment. However, over 65 years later, historians still struggle to extract documents from the CIA and other government agencies surrounding the coup.

These new cables suggest more remains to be discovered, said Malcolm Byrne, who studies Iran at the non-governmental National Security Archive at George Washington University.

“We’ve known that all along,” Byrne said.

Widespread Iranian anger over the Western coup fed into the revolution and its aftermath, which saw Iranian students seize control of the U.S. Embassy and hold those inside captive for 444 days.

To this day Iran’s Shiite theocracy portrays the U.S. as a hostile foreign power bent on subverting and overthrowing its government. Hard-liners still refer to Britain as “the old fox,” a sly adversary.

The 1953 coup is their first piece of evidence.

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

U.S. prosecutors demand that Prince Andrew answer questions about Jeffrey Epstein: Report

U.S. prosecutors demand that Prince Andrew answer questions about Jeffrey Epstein: Report

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In this Wednesday, June 6, 2012, file photo, Britain’s Prince Andrew leaves King Edward VII hospital in London after visiting his father Prince Philip. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, file) more >

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By Jeff Mordock

The Washington Times

Monday, June 8, 2020

U.S. prosecutors are demanding the United Kingdom hand over Prince Andrew to address questions about his ties to deceased billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a report published Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice has sidestepped Buckingham Palace and, instead, filed a “mutual legal assistance” request with the United Kingdom in a bid to force Prince Andrew to testify, The Sun, a London paper, reported.

A mutual legal assistance agreement is a rare step countries use when evidence needs to be gathered in a criminal investigation that transcends international borders.

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Although his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has sovereign immunity from prosecution, Prince Andrew does not.

If the British government grants the request, Prince Andrew would have to face questions under oath from FBI investigators and federal prosecutors.

“It’s a huge statement of intent from the U.S. and it moves Andrew into the realms of a criminal investigation. It’s also frankly a diplomatic nightmare,” a source told The Sun.

“The DOJ does not make a request of this nature lightly, especially one involving a senior member of the British royal family. It puts the U.K. government in a very difficult position — and the Duke of York even more so,” the source told the paper.

Prince Andrew has rebuffed previous attempts by U.S. authorities demanding that he provide answers about his relationship with Epstein.

Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell last year while he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Epstein, has repeatedly claimed she was trafficked to Prince Andrew for sex when she was underage.

Prince Andrew has denied her claims. He tried to address the Epstein issue in a disastrous BBC interview. The interview was widely panned and resulted in his removal from royal duties.

Protests support Floyd, Black Lives Matter on 4 continents

Protests support Floyd, Black Lives Matter on 3 continents

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Protesters face off after one protester, center, interrupted a speech during a rally in Canberra, Australia, on Friday, June 5, 2010, prompted by the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. … more >

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By JOHN LEICESTER and FRANK JORDANS

Associated Press

Friday, June 5, 2020

BERLIN (AP) – Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday in cities far from the United States to express their anger over the death of George Floyd, a sign that the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality is resonating with wider calls over addressing racism in Asia, Australia and Europe.

In Berlin, where police said 15,000 people rallied peacefully on the German capital’s Alexander Square, protesters chanted Floyd’s name and held up placards with slogans such as “Stop police brutality” and “I can’t breath.”

Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck even after he pleaded for air while handcuffed and stopped moving. International protests started last weekend and were scheduled for this weekend from Sydney to Seoul and London to Naples.

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Several thousand demonstrators in Paris defied a protest ban – issued due to the coronavirus pandemic – and assembled within sight of the U.S. Embassy, kept back by imposing barriers and riot police.

Among the crowd in the French capital was Marie Djedje, 14, a Parisian born on July 14, the French national day.

“I was born French, on the day when we celebrate our country. But on a daily basis, I don’t feel that this country accepts me,” she said, holding up a sign that read “Being black is not a crime.”

The teenager said that emerging from France’s virus lockdown and seeing officers on patrol again drove home how scared she is of the police and how she has steeled herself for a life of overcoming obstacles.

“I know that because of my skin color I’m starting out with a handicap, for example, if I want to get a flat or go to a top school,” she said. “I know I’m going to have to fight twice as hard as the others. But I’m prepared.”

In central London, tens of thousands staged a rally outside Parliament Square, invoking Floyd’s memory as well as people who died during police encounters or indifference in Britain. Some protesters ignored thickening rain clouds and later headed toward the U.K. Home Office, which oversees law enforcement and immigration, and to the U.S. Embassy.

Many dropped to one knee and raised their fists in the air outside the gleaming embassy building south of the River Thames. There were chants of “Silence is violence” and “Color is not a crime.”

The majority of those marching wore masks and other face coverings, and appeared to make an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines by walking in small groups.

An estimated 15,000 people also gathered in the heart of Manchester, England, and a further 2,000 people joined in a demonstration in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

Andrew Francis, 37, a black man from London, said there’s “a lot of frustration due to racial discrimination, and we want change for our children and our children’s children’s to be able to have equality within the U.K, the U.S., all around the world.”

Francis, who wore a face covering, said he wasn’t worried about the coronavirus and said the fight for racial equality was “more important” to him.

Floyd’s death has sparked significant protests across the United States; but it has also struck a chord with minorities protesting discrimination elsewhere, including demonstrators in Sydney who highlighted indigenous Australians who died in custody.

A rally there appeared orderly as police handed out masks to protesters and other officials provided hand sanitizer, though officers removed an apparent counter-protester carrying a sign reading, “White Lives, Black Lives, All Lives Matter.”

In Brisbane, the Queensland state capital, organizers said about 30,000 people gathered, forcing police to shut down some major downtown streets. The protesters demanded to have Australia’s Indigenous flag raised at the police station.

Indigenous Australians make up 2% of the the country’s adult population, but 27% of the prison population. They are also the most disadvantaged ethnic minority in Australia and have higher-than-average rates of infant mortality and poor health, as well as shorter life expectancies and lower levels of education and employment than other Australians.

In South Korea’s capital, Seoul, protesters gathered for a second straight day to denounce Floyd’s death.

Wearing masks and black shirts, dozens of demonstrators marched through a commercial district amid a police escort, carrying signs such as “George Floyd Rest in Peace” and “Koreans for Black Lives Matter.”

“I urge the U.S. government to stop the violent suppression of (U.S.) protesters and listen to their voices,” said Jihoon Shim, one of the rally’s organizers. “I also want to urge the South Korean government to show its support for their fight (against racism).”

Chris Trabot, who works for Paris City Hall, said George Floyd’s death last week triggered his decision to demonstrate Saturday for the first time in his life.

Born in the French territory of Martinique, Trabot said he first experienced racism as a child when he moved with his family to mainland France and got in frequent fights with white kids who mocked his skin color.

As an adult, he says he’s been targeted with racial abuse during ID checks. Recently, his 9-year-old daughter has told him of being a target of racism, too, with schoolmates mocking her hair.

Jessica Corandi, a Paris Metro driver, said she cried when she saw the video of Floyd’s treatment by Minneapolis police. The 37-year-old said her three young girls have started to notice people looking at them strangely on the streets of Paris, which she believes is because they are black.

Protesters outside the U.S. consulate in Naples chanted “Freedom!” and “No Justice, No Peace, (expletive) the police” in English and Italian as they clapped and carried handmade signs and a big banner printed with “Black Lives Matter” and a clenched black fist.

In Italy, racist incidents have been on the rise in recent years with an influx of migrants from Africa and the growth of anti-migrant sentiment.

Police said 20,000 people rallied against racism in Munich, while thousands more took part in protests in Frankfurt and Cologne.

In Berlin, Lloyd Lawson, who was born in Britain but raised in Germany, said he had faced racism his entire life.

“The killing and these violent physical things that have happened is only just the top of it,” said Lawson, 54. “That’s why you’ve got to start right from the bottom, just like an iceberg.”

___

Associated Press journalists Rick Rycroft in Sydney, Dennis Passa and John Pye in Brisbane, Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, John Leicester in Paris, Pan Pylas in London and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.

U.K. unemployment claims surge 69% as pandemic takes hold

U.K. unemployment claims surge 69% as pandemic takes hold

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A cyclist rides his bike along Waterloo Bridge, in London, Monday, May 18, 2020. Large areas of London are to be closed to cars and vans to allow people to walk and cycle safely as the coronavirus lockdown is eased, … more >

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By

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

LONDON (AP) — Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69% in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and hit the labor market, U.K. authorities said Tuesday.

The Office of National Statistics says jobless claims surged by 856,000 to 2.1 million in April as compared to the month before. The figures covered only the first weeks of the lockdown, said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.

“In March, employment held up well, as furloughed workers still count as employed, but hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction,” he said.

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Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told the BBC that the government was focused on those claiming benefits under Universal Credit, a welfare payment for those who need help, including the unemployed.

“I think so far the employment stats really are indicative to the end of March and we won’t have a more detailed understanding for about another month,” she said. “So at the moment, the Universal Credit claimants are where we are focusing our interest.”

Julian Assange attorneys look again to postpone extradition trial over coronavirus: WikiLeaks

Assange attorneys look again to postpone extradition trial over coronavirus: WikiLeaks

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This is a court artist sketch of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the dock reading his papers as he appears at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court for his extradition hearing, in London, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP) more >

Print

By Andrew Blake

The Washington Times

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Lawyers for jailed WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange plan to push once more on Monday to have his extradition trial postponed because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

WikiLeaks said Friday that Assange’s attorneys will ask a London court to delay his extradition proceedings due to restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Assange’s lawyers will argue that they have not had full and unfettered access to their client. The onset of the coronavirus crisis has reduced that already restricted access to unacceptably low levels,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.

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Assange, an Australian, has been jailed in London for a year in connection with charges brought against him by the U.S. Department of Justice involving his WikiLeaks website.

The Justice Department has accused Assange of violating the Espionage Act by soliciting, receiving and releasing classified material and is seeking his extradition from the U.K.

Preliminary hearings were briefly held in late February at Westminster Magistrates Court in London to consider the U.S. extradition request, and proceedings are currently scheduled to resume on May 18.

Assange’s lawyers previously asked the court to delay the trial due to the coronavirus outbreak, arguing that it was limiting their access to the WikiLeaks publisher and would likely require witnesses to testify by video link. But that request was denied by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser on April 7, who said at the time that it would be premature to postpone the hearings at that point.

“This is an unpredictable situation, but I cannot assume courts won’t be operating normally then,” she reportedly said at the time. “With this in mind, it is my current intention to hear as much of this case as possible in May.”

Joseph Farrell, an acquaintance of Assange and “WikiLeaks ambassador,” argued that it is now clear that the extradition proceedings cannot proceed next month as planned.

Julian’s lawyers cannot prepare adequately, witnesses will not be able to travel, and journalists and the public will not have free, adequate and safe access to the proceedings. Justice will neither be done, nor seen to be done,” he said in a statement.

Assange faces criminal charges related to classified military and diplomatic documents published by his website in 2010. He faces potentially more than 100 years in federal prison if put on trial in the U.S. and convicted of all counts.

Skeme – Red Coupe (feat. London Jae)

[Hook: London Jae]
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ooh)
Girl I’m a hustler, I might just sell you (ooh)
Not here on a deal, I’m tryna nail you (ayy)
Stunt hard and you know it
I’m on them bars and you know it
I got ’em cars and you know it
In my garage and you know it
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ayy)

[Verse 1: Skeme]
There right here just me and London
I might take your hoe out to the London
Might just jump in that pussy no bungee
I not a last nigga who will get no money
Real blood like a vampire
I want nothin blue but them hunnids
And I need at least like a rack of those
I don’t know what the rap niggas actin’ fo’
Baby don’t fuck with nothin’ else but them real niggas
She allergic to fake shit
I give that dick to her back to back to back to back
I don’t need the brake shit
See i give the rollie a facelift
VVs flooding on the face bitch
Pull up in foreigns and just murk in the parking lots
And then i go beat the case bitch
Red Coupe with chanel boots
That’s type of girl i can call boo
She the type that you saw as ready for you
Everytime you tell her fall through
You don’t be giving me problems and nothin baby
That’s why I skip all the talking and get to the fucking baby

[Hook]
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ooh)
Girl I’m a hustler, I might just sell you (ooh)
Not here on a deal, I’m tryna nail you (ayy)
Stunt hard and you know it
I’m on them bars and you know it
I got ’em cars and you know it
In my garage and you know it
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ayy)

[Verse 2: Skeme]
Lil mama you know that you fly
You know that you fire
You know that you flyin
Girl let’s put tac on my wrist
Gotta tell that don’t you waste time
With the mimes
Baby you know that you fly
You know that you fire
You know that you flyin
And if you fuckin those broke niggas
I think there to stop for a change yeah
Benzie i m switchin my lane yeah
Rari i m switchin my lane yeah
Lambo i m switchin my lane yeah
Pour up and sip for pain ,yeah
Pour up just for pain ,yeah
Pint me a perk for the pain ,yeah
Sip on that remi(?) pour me molly
To come to and get you the thang yeah
(Hoooooh shit)
Don’t play with this plan
Because girl that’s a violation
Ain’t no time like the present baby
So what’s use of all that time wasting
VVS’s only shine crazy
I mean VVS’s only shine brazy
And I get that dick to her on that drank
And pour another line baby

[Hook]
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ooh)
Girl I’m a hustler, I might just sell you (ooh)
Not here on a deal, I’m tryna nail you (ayy)
Stunt hard and you know it
I’m on them bars and you know it
I got ’em cars and you know it
In my garage and you know it
Red coupe, chanel boots (ooh)
Lil mama you fine, I had to tell you (ayy)

[Outro: Skeme]
I just to had tell you something baby
Listen, stop playing around with all that bullshit baby
Because if you do that you slippin soon you know what I am saying
You need to turn around to see what you trying down baby
Because it’s real shit going all around this motherfucker
You didn’t knew now you do
TM88 you a fool for this shit nigga
S/o to my nigga Weezy going crazy brazy crazy
West side Inglez, I love this shit

Stronger now – Popcaan lyrics

Lyrics Popcaan – Stronger now

One go enuh
It real
God over devil enuh
Ghetto yute still
Stronger now yeah
Stronger now
Woyoiii.

A fight dem a fight
And a rise man a rise
Most time I gi give things
But man advertise
Bad news woman dem love televise
More time dem haffi wonder
If me vulcanize.

Cah man stronger now, stronger now
Unruly stronger now, stronger now
Notnice stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Unruly stronger nooow, stronger nooow.

We nuh give a f*ck weh di media say
We just listen weh di real a say
More time dem laugh just teeth deh deh
Dem nuh waan see you reach no weh
Me know people a try hard fi break me
Thats why me nuh trust dem lately
Stress pon mi brain, so much frustrate me
Man a foward from dumplin and gravy.

So, write me down inna you history book dem
Yow give me me Grammy and shook dem
Billions gone inna me book dem
From me see it inna me yute dem
Me see it inna me pipeline
God inna me corner
Greatness run inna mi family
From mi likke bit mi popular.

Cah man stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Weh dem a say? A fight dem a fight me?
Stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Me stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Me story, top story.

Dem, cyan forget the name Popcaan
Cyan forget the name Popcaan
Pon the Gaza block man born
Now we reach the top platform
Some a wonder how di f*ck that gwan
P***y, dem a underestimate badman
Right now mi colder than London
Nuh stop shake the hater dem madman.

Write me down inna you history book dem
Yow give me me Grammy and shook dem
Billions gone inna me book dem
From me see it inna me yute dem
Me see it inna me pipeline
God inna me corner
Versuri-lyrics.info
Greatness run inna mi family
From mi likke bit mi popular.

Cause badman stronger nooow
Top story
Unruly stronger nooow
Yeah man a one go enuh
Unnuh neva do
Stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Stronger nooow, stronger nooow
Unruly, unruly, unruly, unruly
Stronger nooow, woyoi
We stronger nowww.
Popcaan lyrics
Video now

Rose Royce – Show Me lyrics

Ah yes baby you know
I have a Rolls Royce
A Mercedes Benz
And a yacht out in marina
Maybe we can take a trip
And you know

Just go out to the Bahamas
Or Paris, or London, you know
I know all the stars, baby
In fact, Sugar Ray is a personal friend of mine
In fact, just the other day I was sayin’
Sugar, you know you and i should just stop by sometime

You told me about your fancy cars
You told me all your friends were stars
You said that we could get away
Maybe take a holiday

I hope that it won’t be too long
You saw that i could sing a song
You got this and you got that
And i’ll end up flat on my back
Oh you got to show me, show me

Show me baby It ain’t no lie
Show me baby In front of my eyes
Show me baby It ain’t no lie
Show me baby In front of my eyes

You know that you’re my only girl
If i could, i’ll give you the world
You said baby you just stick with me
And one day you’ll surely see
No more wastin’ my time

You got yours, keep your hands off mine boy
Baby, you got to make me see
You got to show me what you’re tellin’ me
You told me about your fancy cars
You told me all your friends were stars
You said that we could get away (get away boy)
Maybe take a holiday

I hope that it won’t be too long, no
You saw that i could sing a song
You got this and you got that
And i’ll end up flat on my back
No more wastin’ my time
You got yours, keep your hands off mine boy
Baby you got to make me see
You got to show what you’re tellin’ me

Show me baby It ain’t no lie
Show me baby In front of my eyes
Show me baby It ain’t no lie
Show me baby In front of my eyes
Show me baby, show me baby
You got to show me boy
Show me baby, show me baby…

Leslie Bricusse – Jekyll And Hyde Concept Album – Facade lyrics

[ENSEMBLE]
If you live around here
You need cash in the bank
‘Cause the houses ’round here
Are all flashy and swank
An’ the front bit, ha
‘at’s what’s called a facade!

All the people ’round here
Are as posh as can be
You won’t seem hobnobbin’
With rubbish like me
It’s the snob bit
Also called a facade

Every day
People, in their own sweet way
Like to add a coat of paint
And be what they ain’t!

That’s how our little –
Game is played
Livin’ out their masquerade
Getting rich and getting laid
Who’d want to trade?

But there’s one thing I know
And I know it for sure:
This disease that we’ve got
Has got no ready cure!
And I’m certain
Life is terribly hard
When your life’s a facade!

Every night here one house
Or another is a funhouse
‘Cause there’s someone giving a party
As you see, sir!

This one here tonight
Is rather special, am I right?
It’s the betrothal of Sir Danver’s
Daughter, Lisa

Sir Danvers Carew is a good man
They call him the creme de la creme
Whatever that means
He’s a bloody sight better than them!

Nearly everyone you meet
When walking down a London street
Pretends to be a pillar of society

A model of propriety
Sobriety, and piety
Who’s never even heard of notoriety

The ladies an’ gents ‘ere before you
Which none of ’em ever admits
May have saintly looks
But they’re sinners an’ crooks!

Hypocrites!

If you live around here
You need lots of panache
If you live in down, dear
Then you must cut a dash
T’isn’t hard, dear
To create a facade

You must seem to be rich
And to have money to burn
Even though it’s a bitch
Spending more than you earn
That’s the game here
And the name is facade

One or two
Might look kinda well-to-do
But I bet you precious few
Have payed for their boots

I’m inclined to think –
Half mankind thinks the other
Half is blind
Wouldn’t be surprised to find
They’re all in cahoots

At the end of the day
They don’t mean what they say
They don’t say what they mean
They don’t ever come clean
And the answer
Is it’s all a facade

Call a walk promenade
Call a street boulevard
Grease your hair with pomade
You’ll be held in regard

And I betcha
If you stay on your guard (stay on your guard)
They’ll all say you’re a card
People love the facade (stay on your guard)
What’s behind the facade?

[JEKYLL]
Look behind the facade

Leslie Bricusse – Jekyll And Hyde Concept Album – The Engagement Party lyrics

[SIR DANVERS]
My dear Simon
You’re so gracious
To wish Lisa and Henry both well

[STRIDE]
Dear Sir Danvers
As you know, Sir
I wish Lisa the sun and the moon
But I have to confess that I wish Henry Jekyll in hell!

[UTTERSON]
(spoken) Henry, at last. What could possibly be more important than your own engagement party?

[JEKYLL]
John, I am close to a breakthrough discovery!
Something spectacular, something sublime!
Finally, a light in the darkness has come to me!
Now it is only a matter of time!

[DR HASTIE LANYON]
Henry Jekyll, you’re a devil
You have robbed us of London’s most lovely girl

[MR RICHARD ENFIELD]
I could turn to drink when I stop to think
Lisa’s marrying a doctor instead of an earl

[BOTH]
Poor girl!

[STRIDE ]
Doctor Jekyll, may I be the first to wish
You and your bride-to-be
Peace and prosperity?

[JEKYLL]
Mr. Stride, it’s most civil of you
To say that, as you do
With such patent sincerity!

David Brent – Slough lyrics

More convenient that a Tesco express
Close to Windsor but the properties less
Keeps the businesses of Britain great
It’s got Europe’s biggest trading estate

It doesn’t matter where you’re from
You wanna work? Then come along
The station’s just got a new floor
And the motorway runs by your door

And you know just where you’re heading
It’s equidistance ‘tween London and Reading

Oh Slough
My kind of town
I don’t know how, anyone could put you down

To the West you got Taplow and Bray
You got Hillingdon the other way
It’s a brilliant place to live and work
It was in Bucks now officially it’s Berks

Don’t listen to what the critics say
Like it’s soulless, and boring and grey
See for yourself, what you waiting for?
We’re on the Bath road, that’s the A4

And you know just where you’ll be heading
It’s equidistance ‘tween London and Reading

Oh Slough
My kind of town
I don’t know how, anyone could put you down

Oh Slough
My kind of town
I don’t know how, anyone could put you down

Slough [x4]

Radiohead – Anyone Can Play Guitar

Destiny, destiny protect me from the world
Destiny, hold my hand protect me from the world
Here we are with our running and confusion
And I don’t see no confusion anywhere

And if the world does turn
And if London burns I’ll be standing on the beach with my guitar
I wanna be in a band when I get to heaven
Anyone can play guitar
And they won’t be a nothing anymore

Grow my hair, grow my hair
I am Jim Morrison
Grow my hair
I wanna be wanna be wanna be Jim Morrison

Here we are with our running and confusion
And I don’t see no confusion anywhere
And if the world does turn
And if London burns I’ll be standing on the beach with my guitar
I wanna be in a band when I get to heaven
Anyone can play guitar
And they won’t be a nothing anymore

Frank Wildhorn – Jekyll And Hyde Concept Album – Facade lyrics

[ENSEMBLE]
If you live around here
You need cash in the bank
‘Cause the houses ’round here
Are all flashy and swank
An’ the front bit, ha
‘at’s what’s called a facade!

All the people ’round here
Are as posh as can be
You won’t seem hobnobbin’
With rubbish like me
It’s the snob bit
Also called a facade

Every day
People, in their own sweet way
Like to add a coat of paint
And be what they ain’t!

That’s how our little –
Game is played
Livin’ out their masquerade
Getting rich and getting laid
Who’d want to trade?

But there’s one thing I know
And I know it for sure:
This disease that we’ve got
Has got no ready cure!
And I’m certain
Life is terribly hard
When your life’s a facade!

Every night here one house
Or another is a funhouse
‘Cause there’s someone giving a party
As you see, sir!

This one here tonight
Is rather special, am I right?
It’s the betrothal of Sir Danver’s
Daughter, Lisa

Sir Danvers Carew is a good man
They call him the creme de la creme
Whatever that means
He’s a bloody sight better than them!

Nearly everyone you meet
When walking down a London street
Pretends to be a pillar of society

A model of propriety
Sobriety, and piety
Who’s never even heard of notoriety

The ladies an’ gents ‘ere before you
Which none of ’em ever admits
May have saintly looks
But they’re sinners an’ crooks!

Hypocrites!

If you live around here
You need lots of panache
If you live in down, dear
Then you must cut a dash
T’isn’t hard, dear
To create a facade

You must seem to be rich
And to have money to burn
Even though it’s a bitch
Spending more than you earn
That’s the game here
And the name is facade

One or two
Might look kinda well-to-do
But I bet you precious few
Have payed for their boots

I’m inclined to think –
Half mankind thinks the other
Half is blind
Wouldn’t be surprised to find
They’re all in cahoots

At the end of the day
They don’t mean what they say
They don’t say what they mean
They don’t ever come clean
And the answer
Is it’s all a facade

Call a walk promenade
Call a street boulevard
Grease your hair with pomade
You’ll be held in regard

And I betcha
If you stay on your guard (stay on your guard)
They’ll all say you’re a card
People love the facade (stay on your guard)
What’s behind the facade?

[JEKYLL]
Look behind the facade

Frank Wildhorn – Jekyll And Hyde Concept Album – The Engagement Party lyrics

[SIR DANVERS]
My dear Simon
You’re so gracious
To wish Lisa and Henry both well

[STRIDE]
Dear Sir Danvers
As you know, Sir
I wish Lisa the sun and the moon
But I have to confess that I wish Henry Jekyll in hell!

[UTTERSON]
(spoken) Henry, at last. What could possibly be more important than your own engagement party?

[JEKYLL]
John, I am close to a breakthrough discovery!
Something spectacular, something sublime!
Finally, a light in the darkness has come to me!
Now it is only a matter of time!

[DR HASTIE LANYON]
Henry Jekyll, you’re a devil
You have robbed us of London’s most lovely girl

[MR RICHARD ENFIELD]
I could turn to drink when I stop to think
Lisa’s marrying a doctor instead of an earl

[BOTH]
Poor girl!

[STRIDE ]
Doctor Jekyll, may I be the first to wish
You and your bride-to-be
Peace and prosperity?

[JEKYLL]
Mr. Stride, it’s most civil of you
To say that, as you do
With such patent sincerity!

Ralph Mctell – Streets Of London lyrics

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
With his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday’s paper telling yesterday’s news

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine.
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She’s no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine.
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea lasts an hour
Then he wanders home alone

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
Don’t say for you that the sun don’t shine.
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old man
Outside the Seaman’s Mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn’t care

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine.
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

Can’t touch this
Can’t touch this
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)

My-my-my-my music makes me so hard makes me say oh my Lord
Thank you for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hype feet
That’s good when you know you’re down
A super dope homeboy from the Oaktown
And I’m known as such
And this is a beat uh u can’t touch

I told you homeboy u can’t touch this
Yeah that’s how we’re livin’ and you know u can’t touch this
Look in my eyes man u can’t touch this
You know let me bust the funky lyrics u can’t touch this

Fresh new kicks and pants
You got it like that now you know you wanna dance
So move out of your seat
And get a fly girl and catch this beat
While it’s rollin’ hold on pump a little bit
And let me know it’s going on like that like that
Cold on a mission so pull on back
Let ’em know that you’re too much
And this is a beat uh u can’t touch

Yo I told you u can’t touch this
Why you standing there man u can’t touch this
Yo sound the bells school is in sucker u can’t touch this

Give me a song or rhythm
Making ’em sweat that’s what I’m giving ’em
Now they know when you talk about the Hammer
You talk about a show that’s hyped and tight
Singers are sweatin’ so pass them a mic
Or a tape to learn what it’s gonna take
And now he’s gonna burn
The charts legit either work hard
Or you might as well quit

That’s word because you know
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Break it down
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh)
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh)
Stop Hammer time

Go with the flow in a spin if you can’t move to this
Then you probably are dead
So wave your hands in the air
Bust through the moves run your fingers through your hair
This is it for a winner
Dance to this and you’re gonna get thinner
Move slide your rump
Just for a minute let’s all do the bump
Bump bump bump yeah

Can’t touch this
Look man u can’t touch this
You’ll probably get hyped boy ’cause you know you can’t u can’t touch this
Ring the bell school’s back in break it down
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Stop Hammer time
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)
(Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh)
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh) u can’t touch this
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh) u can’t touch this
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh) u can’t touch this
(Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh) break it down
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Stop Hammer time

Every time you see me that Hammer’s just so hype
I’m dope on the floor and I’m magic on the mic
Now why would I ever stop doing this
With others makin’ records that just don’t hit
I toured around the world from London to the bank
It’s Hammer go Hammer
It’s a Hammer yo Hammer and the rest go and play

Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh)
Can’t touch this (oh-oh oh-oh-oh)
Yeah u can’t touch this
I told you u can’t touch this (oh-oh oh-oh-oh)
Too hype can’t touch this
Get me outta here u can’t touch this
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)