France tells Theresa May to FORGET backstop review clause – EU will DECIDE

French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, has warned the Prime Minister that MPs would not support any deal that would keep Britain locked in a backstop arrangement with Brussels.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live the UK “cannot be held against its will” in a possible customs union with the EU, adding: “It cannot be a decision that can be overturned by the European Union, it must be capable for the United Kingdom to decide to leave that customs arrangement.”

|AIWA! NO|French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau said any decision taken to end the backstop arrangement cannot be made by the United Kingdom alone and must involve the remaining 27 European Union countries.
Brexiteers in Mrs May’s Cabinet have demanded the inclusion of the mechanism that would unilaterally trigger a UK exit from any customs union arrangement in the backstop, the insurance policy to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

EU negotiators rejected this and reportedly told their UK counterparts that the European Court of Justice would have to be involved in the arbitration of any potential mechanism.

Ahead of the meeting, Ms Loiseau rejected the possibility of an independent mechanism being included in the backstop to help the Prime Minister with her domestic negotiations.

The French Europe minister told reporters: “If we end any sort of temporary arrangement this is to be bilateral decision from the EU27 and from the UK at the same time and we have to know in that moment what sort of solution there is for the Irish border.”

Technical-level negotiations will continue between the British and EU teams as they move “closer and closer” to seal a Brexit deal, according to one EU diplomat.

A technical deal is once again within days of conclusion but Mrs May is struggling to win political backing from her Cabinet as further splits emerge in her Conservative Party.

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron rips nationalism as Trump looks on: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism’

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‘Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,’ says France’s Emmanuel Macron at World War I commemoration | world news | Hindustan Times

Nearly 70 world leaders travelled to Paris to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
Photo by: Francois Mori
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)

|PARIS; LUKE BAKER, REUTERS|AIWA! NO!| – French President Emmanuel Macron used an address to world leaders gathered in Paris for Armistice commemorations on Sunday to send a stern message about the dangers of nationalism, calling it a betrayal of moral values.

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With U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting just a few feet away listening to the speech via translation earpieces, Macron denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others.

“By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.”

Trump, who has pursued “America First” policies since entering the White House and in the run-up to the congressional elections this month declared himself a “nationalist”, sat still and stony-faced in the front row as Macron spoke.

There was no immediate response from either the White House or the Kremlin to Macron’s comments.

WORLD LEADERS laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold hands after unveiling a plaque in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

Leaders laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

|AIWA! NO!|PARIS — Traveling from across the world to monuments honoring soldiers who fell 100 years ago, victors and vanquished alike marked those sacrifices Saturday ahead of Armistice Day and assessed alliances that have been redrawn dramatically since the dark days of World War I.

The leaders of former enemies France and Germany, in an intimate gesture that underscored their countries’ current roles as guarantors of peace in Europe, held their heads together at the site north of Paris where the defeated Germans and the Allies signed the agreement that ended the 1914-18 war.

After Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly snuggled her head into the neck of French President Emmanuel Macron, the two went inside a replica of the train car where the armistice was reached and put their names in a guestbook. Macron then took Merkel’s hand in his, again highlighting the changes on the continent where two world wars were fought in the 20th century.

“Our Europe has been at peace for 73 years. There is no precedent for it, and it is at peace because we willed it and first and foremost, because Germany and France wanted it,” he said.

Merkel was equally convinced of the power their friendship exudes.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet with veterans at the Clairiere of Rethondes, during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

“The will is there, and I say this for Germany with full conviction, to do everything to achieve a more peaceful order in the world even though we know we have very, very much work still ahead of us,” she said.

The open show of affection was a welcome antidote for Macron. Earlier Saturday, the French leader had a somewhat awkward meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. As Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night, Trump wrote on Twitter he had been “very” insulted by comments Macron made in the days before that he considered anti-American.

A century ago, the entry of U.S. troops into World War I tipped the momentum toward its allies, including France and Britain. Even as he embarked on two days of observances for the Nov. 11, 1918 armistice, Trump said the United States now bears far too much of the burden to defend the West.

A flurry of Armistice-related diplomacy once again turned Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to take in 1914 but which the Allies successfully fought to defend, into the center of global attention Saturday as dozens of world leaders arrived in the French capital on the eve of the solemn centennial commemorations.

A portrait of a soldier is displayed at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One, France, August 30, 2018. Picture taken August 30, 2018.  Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Merkel’s appearance in Compiegne marked how her nation’s bloodstained history with France has become a close alliance that is now the driving force behind the European Union.

In the four years of fighting, remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of gas, France, the British empire, Russia and the United States had the main armies opposing a German-led coalition that also included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

Almost 10 million soldiers died. France lost 1.4 million and Germany 2 million.

Yet, despite a war that was supposed to end all wars, World War II pitted both sides against each other once again in 1940.

Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter, before converging on Paris for a dinner.

The armistice entered into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and on Sunday 69 world leaders will commemorate the centennial of the event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

A view shows the table inside the replica of the wagon where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne, France, August 30, 2018.  Picture taken August 30, 2018.   Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

At dawn Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Vimy Ridge, the battlefield in northern France where Canada found its sense of self when it defeated German opposition against the odds.

Standing amid the white headstones against an ashen sky, Trudeau addressed the fallen, saying what Canada has achieved in the past century has been “a history built on your sacrifice. You stand for the values on which Canada was built.”

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PM @Theresa_May and President @EmmanuelMacron laid a wreath of poppies and le bleuet at the Thiepval Memorial.

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In southern Belgium’s Mons, Canadians were also lauding George Price, the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the war when he was shot by a German sniper two minutes before the armistice took effect.

Trump was looking beyond the tragedy of death and destruction, asking in a tweet: “Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?”

After his meeting with Macron, Trump had been scheduled to head to the battlefield of Belleau Wood, 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the capital, where U.S. troops had their breakthrough battle by stopping a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.

The battle of Belleau Wood proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended U.S. forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.

However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather and immediately came in for criticism.

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary – and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow,” David Frum, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, tweeted,

The White House sent a delegation that included chief of staff John Kelly in Trump’s place. Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, said the White House should have had a fallback plan for the president.

“There is always a rain option. Always,” Rhodes said.

Trump is scheduled to visit a different U.S. cemetery close to Paris on Sunday.

John Leicester contributed.

BRITAIN’S MI6 in urgent Jeremy Corbyn security meeting amid fears of snap ELECTION

JEREMY Corbyn has been called in to meet the head of MI6 as spooks fear Brexit talks may collapse and spark a snap election.

Corbyn
BRIEFING: Corbyn has been briefed by MI6 on the threats to the UK (Pic: REUTERS
Dan O’Donoghue , DAILY STAR|AIWA! NO!|The Labour leader is believed to have met Alex Younger, head of MI6 so he could be briefed on the agency’s work and the severity of the threats facing Britain.
Mr. Corbyn is reported to have met Mr. Younger at the organization’s headquarters in Vauxhall, south London, where he was told that “MI6 did not pursue its own agenda”.

Mr. Corbyn spent years as a backbench MP attacking the integrity of the intelligence services and in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisoning his spokesman provoked outrage after appearing to question British intelligence by saying: “There’s a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly.”

UK ‘X FACTOR BOYS: Sound issues are technical not sabotage

“I don’t think ITV would want to waste money and time to mess up any one particular act. There are way too many people behind the scenes.

“Technical glitches do happen, and it is beyond anyone’s control,” 24-year-old Jamaican Dalton Andre Harris added.

The X Factor boys with mentor Louis Tomlinson (REX).
|Laura Hannam, Yahoo Celebrity UK|AIWA! NO!| X-Factor was hit with major technical issues last week. For ten minutes of live television, faulty sound transmissions left boys contestant Anthony Russell and overs contestant Danny Tetley sounding like ‘Daleks.’
But despite emerging reports that these contestants feared it was part of a sabotage to oust them from the show, the boys rubbished the claims.

“It happened, it’s television. Despite certain reports, I didn’t say anything about people trying to get me out of the competition.

“Because we are all winners at the end of the day. I’ve been showcased on television. These things happen,” 28-year-old Liverpudlian Russell told us.

“I don’t think ITV would want to waste money and time to mess up any one particular act. There are way too many people behind the scenes.

“Technical glitches do happen, and it is beyond anyone’s control,” 24-year-old Jamaican Dalton Andre Harris added.

The boys have the first-time judge and former X Factor contestant Louis Tomlinson as their mentor. Harris said he’s surprised at how ‘real’ and ‘supportive’ Tomlinson has been.

Russell, Murray, and Harris outside the Build Ldn studio. (REX)

“Going in I thought it would be more business geared but I think it’s a bit more personal with Louis. Today I feel a bit iffy about certain things and I’m able to text him and get an almost instant response,” he said.

While 21-year-old Brendan Murray from Galway says Tomlinson often relays One Direction stories and examples when giving guidance.

“At his house, we had dinner with him and he told us about the early One Direction days. He told us how nervous they were in their first rehearsals, it was nice to hear that side of the story,” Murray said.

And they’ve already got some X Factor winner fans.

“James Arthur reached out to me and offered his support – he’s a good lad!” Russell said.

“Little Mix reached out which is crazy. They think I’m a good singer which is just so flattering to me! I met them and they said they were rooting for me!” Harris added

Syria Football Team: the side giving hope and purpose to refugees in Coventry, Midlands, United Kingdom

Team Syria: the side giving hope and purpose to refugees in Coventry

Mustafa escaped Homs three years ago with nothing but playing in the final of the Communities World Cup at St George’s Park has helped rebuild his life
Team Syria walk out for the final of the Communities World Cup at St. George’s Park
 Team Syria walk out for the final of the Communities World Cup at St. George’s Park. Photograph: Fabio De Paola for the Guardian
AIWA! NO!“I left because of the war. My city is very dangerous. I lost everything. I lost my house, my car, my work. After the war I stopped everything. Playing football, work. Everything. I lost friends. I lost 500-600 friends. Sometimes I miss them, because life in my country is very difficult and dangerous.”

The words coming from Mustafa do not really match the demeanour of the smiling, sweet man delivering them. You would never guess he escaped Homs in Syria three years ago with nothing, having gone through unimaginable horrors, eventually making it to the UK. But on a chilly night in October, he led a team of fellow refugees to the final of the Communities World Cup, on the freshly laid indoor pitch at St George’s Park in Burton upon Trent.

You have to double-take slightly when you meet Mustafa. A likeness to a certain Uruguayan forward, a big toothy smile and relentless running, might leave opponents briefly thinking they are facing the mother of all ringers. “People would tell me Suárez, Suárez,” he says, grinning that grin.

Mustafa might not be quite good enough for Barcelona but he did play football at home. To a pretty decent level too – he was a semi-professional on the books of Al-Karamah, eight-times Syrian title-winners. When he came to the UK three years ago, he started as many did by playing in the park with friends, before he heard about the Positive Youth Foundation (PYF), a charity based in Coventry.

The team who sprang from PYF started out pretty casually, kickabouts designed just for fun, and to build a community around football. Then they heard about the Communities World Cup, a tournament for teams in the West Midlands but representing nations from around the world, and the team grew and grew, almost entirely by word of mouth.

“Some boys joined the football team within three days of arriving in Coventry, before they’d even signed up for school,” says Cormac Whelan, the PYF health and sports coordinator, and the man who organised the team. “It’s great the way they’re looking after each other, and adapting into a new environment.”

Mustafa’s is one of many similar stories in this team of refugees, of fleeing across continents to escape desperate situations. Some would find their way to one of the vast, city-like refugee camps in Lebanon, with no idea of where their families were.

Mustafa looks to get on the ball in the final
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Mustafa looks to get on the ball in the final. Photograph: Fabio De Paola for the Guardian

Some would be reunited with their loved ones in those camps but many would have to settle in the UK knowing nobody, with no support. That is where PYF and the football team come in.

Until the summer they had not played 11-a-side as a team but came together to enter the CWC loosely under the name “Team Syria” but by the end up to 10 nationalities had represented them.

The CWC was the brainchild of Obayed Hussain, who among other things was the Birmingham FA equality officer until recently, to run alongside the other, slightly higher-profile World Cup happening in Russia this year. Teams representing 19 communities around the West Midlands expressed an interest and eight were put into the tournament.

“The whole purpose wasn’t to see how good the football was,” Hussain says. “It was about providing that opportunity to those communities to celebrate their cultures and their love for football.

 

©The Guardian

U.K. BREXIT SECRETARY Dominic Raab: “The end is now firmly in sight” – BREXIT Deal By 21 November

RAAB BREXITBrexit deal in 21 days: End is in sight says Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab|MACER HALL, EXPRESS|AIWA! NO!|BRITAIN is expected to conclude a Brexit deal with the EU within the next three weeks, Theresa May’s chief negotiator has revealed. In a letter to MPs released last night, Dominic Raab predicted an agreement about the UK’s departure from the European bloc would be finalised before November 21.

Dominic Raab expects a Brexit deal within 21 days (Image: Getty)

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them,” the EU Brexit Secretary said.

His optimistic remarks raised hopes that the two sides are close to breaking the deadlock in the stalled Brussels talks. And the value of the pound strengthened after his remarks were reported.

But officials admitted many issues needed to be resolved and insisted ministers wanted to inject urgency into the talks after months of foot dragging by Brussels.

One Whitehall insider said: “There’s plenty of stuff still to do.”

Mr Raab’s indication of a possible date came in an October 24 letter to the Commons Exiting the EU Committee which was released last night. In the letter, Mr Raab said he expected to be in a position to give details about a possible deal by the November date.

“I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable,” he said.

Downing Street sought to dampen expectations of an imminent deal last night. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We want to get a deal as soon as possible and that is what we are working to complete.”

Mr Raab’s signal came as talks continued yesterday to find a breakthrough in the row over the future of the Northern Ireland border.

Civil servant Oliver Robbins, the Government’s chief EU envoy, was holding discussions with his EU counterpart Sabine Weyand in Brussels. European ambassadors expected to be updated on progress last night.

EU officials were understood to be expecting a decision to be taken within days on whether to hold a special EU summit this month to conclude a draft deal.

A Whitehall source close to Mr Raab said achieving a deal by November 21 was an “ambition” rather than a definite expectation, saying: “There has not been some tectonic shift in the last few days.”

In his letter, Mr Raab struck an optimistic note on the chances for a deal. He wrote: “Despite our differences, we are not far from an agreement on this issue.

“We agree on the principle of a UK-wide customs backstop. An agreement on the details of that backstop should be possible.

“Both sides agree that this backstop cannot provide for a permanent UK/EU relationship and are committed to a future relationship that works for the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

“We are open to talking about ways to achieve this and committed to continuing discussions in order to reach an agreement.

The end is now firmly in sight

Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.

“We now need to acknowledge the progress that has been made and now work rapidly through the remaining issues and come to an agreement that works for both sides.”

In reply to Mr Raab’s letter, Labour MP and Exiting the EU Committee chairman Hilary Benn expressed disappointment at the Brexit Secretary’s failure to follow the pattern of regular appearances established by his predecessor David Davis. He also rejected Mr Raab’s proposal to update the committee by letter until the deal was agreed as “not sufficient or effective”.

He said: “You will know that this is not how committees undertake inquiries and is not conducive to scrutiny.”

With EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meeting European Parliament officials “almost daily”, the Government was failing to live up to Mr Davis’s promise to match Mr Barnier for openness, Mr Benn said.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said a deal by November 21 was “possible” but required more movement from the UK.

“It is up to the British side in particular to intensify negotiations towards a deal,” he said.

In a series of exchanges with MPs in the Commons yesterday, Theresa May insisted the Government was dedicated to getting “a good deal” for the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

After the rally by the pound last night, Hamish Muress, a currency analyst at financial firm OFX, said: “No Halloween scares today. Instead we finally have a concrete date from Raab regarding a Brexit deal being finalised, and the pound has jumped in response.”

A Department for Exiting the EU spokesman said last night: “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude.

“The 21st November was the date offered by the chair of the Select Committee for the Secretary of State to give evidence.”

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